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North County Times - Temple Heights students speak with arctic explorer  Global SchoolNet
 Apr 30, 2004 16:12 PDT 

Temple Heights students speak with arctic explorer

By: DAVID FRIED - Staff Writer

OCEANSIDE ---- The mild, sunny skies of Oceanside warmed the spirits of
students at Temple Heights Elementary last week. But a telephone call
sent an exciting chill through teacher Ramiro Santana's third-grade

On the other end was Wave Vidmar, an Oakland resident standing in
below-freezing weather, attempting to ski 660 miles from the Artichevsky
Peninsula in Russia to the North Pole. Alone.

When the phone rang precisely at 2 p.m. Thursday, jaws around the
classroom dropped and about six students lined up at the speakerphone to
ask the adventurer prepared questions about his experiences. They asked
about the wildlife he had seen, about how his eyelids had swollen nearly
shut as his eyelashes froze off and whether the sun was still shining at
3 a.m. at the top of the world.

"On the inside, I'm very happy," Vidmar, 39, told the students about his
condition. "It's just, an experience like this is very rough on the

Vidmar spoke to the students via satellite phone.

The call was organized by Encinitas-based Global SchoolNet, a nonprofit
organization that focuses on interactive learning and international

"You're probably some of the only kids in the whole world to get a call
from the North Pole," Yvonne Andres, president of Global SchoolNet, told
the students.

Her comments were far from hyperbole.

Aside from Temple Heights, only three schools worldwide spoke with
Vidmar during the 50 days of his trek. An Israeli classroom spoke with
the adventurer earlier Thursday, and a school in Georgia was expected to
receive a call from him Friday, the last day of his journey.

Although he had planned to reach the polar cap after 60 days, Vidmar's
adventure was cut short because his money ran out sooner than expected,
he explained on his Web site, which he updated daily with journals and
digital photos.

After being selected earlier this month, the class has spent several
hours each week preparing for their conversation with Vidmar. They
regularly followed Vidmar's daily e-mail updates, charting his every

"The discussions (of Vidmar's trips) usually branched off into a lot of
math, miles and distance" said Santana, of the students' efforts to map
Vidmar's daily progress through the arctic terrain.

The larger lesson, however, was teaching the students to pursue their
goals, Santana said.

"Not to just plan something, but to take action," he added.

The lesson appears to have sunk in, at least somewhat.

Celeste Taylor and Kateri Rodriguez, two of Santana's students, said
that they admired Vidmar's bravery and were inspired to embark on their
own journey someday.

Their planned destination, nonetheless, may be a little less arduous to
reach. When asked where they would like to travel to, the youngsters
smiled and chimed, "Hawaii."

Contact staff writer David Fried at (760) 631-6621 or dfr-@nctimes.com
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