Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

February 27, 2013

Mark Maynard: Hands-on lesson in geography

Mark Maynard
The Independent

ASHLAND — I received an interesting letter this week from a fifth-grade student at Harlan Intermediate School in Harlan, Iowa.

Her name is Rebekah L. and her class is studying geography and the history of the United States. She writes she was “lucky enough to draw our state” and asked for any information, books, photographs or other information about Kentucky.

I liked the idea but not only want to give her information on Kentucky but on Ashland, Ky., specifically.

I’ve been asking co-workers and friends about what kind of information would be good to send to Rebekah that she could share with classmates.

When it comes to Kentucky generally, anything stamped with the Kentucky Wildcats would have to top the list. I’ve got that covered, no problem.

When it comes to Ashland specifically I have some ideas but would also welcome any suggestions.

Some of my co-workers ideas included a lump of coal, an autographed poster of the Judds, a bluegrass CD, an LED light from our Christmas extravaganza in the park, photographs of Central Park and the Paramount Arts Center, a Jesse Stuart book, a Brandon Webb autographed baseball and maybe something from the medical community since King’s Daughters Medical Center is our No. 1 employer, and, of course, a week’s worth of newspapers from The Independent.

It’s interesting when you play the old favorite word association game. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word Ashland?

It would be a lot of different things to a lot of different folks.

Just remember, I’m looking for something tangible that could be put in a box and mailed to Harlan, Iowa, for fifth-graders to view.

The teacher at Harlan, Della Newlin, has been doing this project for many years, according to school officials who I spoke with on Wednesday. The lady who talked to me said it has been a very popular project. I’m wondering if we can top them all and have these fifth-graders — and Mrs. Newlin — wishing they could make a visit to Ashland, Ky., some day because of the treasure chest we send them.

The No. 1 thing that comes to my mind when I hear the word Ashland is the genorosity of its citizens. This has always been a giving community, a community that rallies around the less fortunate, a community that has never been afraid to roll up its sleeves and work to make it a better place to live and play.

New Ashland Mayor Chuck Charles’ credo has been to make Ashland not only the city of choice in the Tri-State area but in the entire United States.

That may seem a tad lofty but you don’t go anywhere without a goal.

My goal for this project is to make Rebekah L.’s package from Kentucky the best among the 124 intermediate fifth-graders who are participating in this project.

Mrs. Newlin also says encouraging letters, picture postcards or other historical information from our readers to send to the class personally are very much welcomed.

Here is the address:

Mrs. Newlin’s Social Studies class

1401 19th St.

Harlan, IA 51537

Let’s show them what Kentucky hospitality — and Ashland specifically — is all about.

If you have any ideas, feel free to email me. I’ll be mailing our package at the end of next week.

MARK MAYNARD can be reached at mmaynard@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2648.