Grade 6 Students "Mush" Through the Surf for the 14th Annual Ikidarod
In a competition modeled after the famous Iditarod dog sled race, Grade 6 students from Francis Parker School staged the annual waterfront Ikidarod at Tourmaline Surfing Park in Pacific Beach putting their mental and physical fitness to the test.
Some 90 students from the Class of 2023 played the roles of "mushers" and dogs as they raced from Tourmaline Beach to the South Mission Beach jetty on April 21. Along the way, the students stopped to solve problems on subjects ranging from math to social studies.
“Aside from being a unique and invigorating distraction from the routine school day, the Ikidarod is meaningful to kids because of what they learn about teamwork,” said Chris McGrath, Grade 6 teacher and coordinator of the Ikidarod. “These are groups of kids that are literally bound together and have no choice but to function and seek unity.”
One of the goals of the Ikidarod is to teach students about communicating and collaborating to reach shared goals. The life lessons learned during the friendly competition are integrated into Parker's Life Skills Program.
Grade 6 retired math teacher, Mrs. Mary Brown, brought the race to Parker after she participated in a "teacher on the trail" workshop at the Iditarod in Alaska. Schools in other snowy climates have staged Ikidarods with students pulling students in sleds over snow.
The Ikidarod is a Parker Middle School tradition that celebrates the memory of Parker alumnus and parent Alex Szekely while providing students the opportunity to learn the value of teamwork.
Francis Parker School is a private, independent, coeducational, college preparatory day school for students in Junior Kindergarten through Grade 12 from across San Diego County. Founded in 1912, the Lower School is located on the Mission Hills Campus with the Upper and Middle Schools on the Linda Vista Campus. Parker's mission is to inspire a diverse community of independent thinkers whose academic excellence, global perspective and strength of character prepare them to make a meaningful difference in the world.