Day 3, September 24, 2008, on the Longhorns and Outlaws Alberta Book Tour!
I’d driven from Hanna to Ponoka and the Ponoka Super 8 the afternoon before, retracing my path back along highways #9 and #56 before changing highways. When I’d starting setting up the tour I knew Ponoka had to be one of the stops — I figured the annual Ponoka Stampede week meant local kids were surely interested in cattle, horses, and naturally, old west outlaws.
I must admit getting from my hotel to the school was one of the few times of the tour that Google Maps just didn’t seem to work! Luckily for me, I had Maureen Bell, Diamond Willow Middle School’s very able librarian to step in and give directions. “Down to McDonalds, turn left at the lights; another light at Tim Horton’s and turn right.” If only Google knew how to give directions like this.
Larry Cook, Principal, met me at the Diamond Willow Middle School main entrance door as if he’d known exactly the instant I’d arrive. It was noon hour with intramurals going on and kids everywhere. However, even with all the hubbub, as we walked down the hallway I still heard one little girl whisper, “That’s her!” as I passed. I couldn’t have received a better welcome.
Middle school classes are my favourite to visit. And the 370 grade six to eight students at Diamond Willow didn’t let me down. Set up in a commons area, there was lots of room for the two separate groups to sit to tables while watching my Powerpoint slideshow. I’d been right in my guess, and at least half of the kids all indicated they rode horses themselves. Best of all, there was lots of interaction!
I could see from the great display of new books that Maureen Bell had in the hallway, that the kids were readers too. And, as Maureen assured them, she was starting a sign-up sheet for the many who wanted to read Longhorns and Outlaws. Best of all, I now have a Diamond Willow Middle School Wolf t-shirt, just like all of them!