Mike Fry has been a physical education teacher and coach in the Aurelia district for many years and always takes an active part in the 100th Day celebration, leading the students in exercises. This year, however, although the teacher was not there in person, his spirit certainly was.
Fry has been stationed in Afghanistan with the National Guard for all of this school year, and he has communicated frequently with the Aurelia students and teachers via e-mail and Skype. He has also sent photos and videos, and has talked about the Afghan children and their needs.
The teachers and students decided that a special project for this year's 100th day would be for them to bring items to the school for the children of Afghanistan. With that in mind, the students collected items such as hats/caps, mittens/gloves, socks, underwear, candy, toys, pens and notepads, and brought them to school on Wednesday.
Wednesday morning, a special 100 Day celebration in the Aurelia gym began with students placing several of their items for Afghanistan on the gym floor. When students had assembled in the bleachers, Principal Ann Sandine showed the students a Christmas card for the Aurelia school from Fry, which she had just received on Tuesday. In the card, Fry expresses his thanks for all of the cards he has received from the students and teachers, and Sandine told the students that Fry had mailed it on the day after Christmas. She explained that it had taken so long to get to Aurelia because the teacher was so far away.
The students then practiced counting to 100 by going to a table and placing other items they had brought on the table. With the assistance of teachers Shanda Reilly and Mary Ann DePuma, the entire group of students counted each item aloud as it was placed on the table. Reilly held up a card noting the 'running count' for every 10 gifts, and when the students finished, they had successfully counted to 100, with 100 gifts for the Afghan children on the table.
That number, however, only applied to the gifts they had brought to the table, and didn't include the large pile of gifts which had been placed on the floor earlier. Sandine asked the students to guess what the total number of gifts was, and she received several "guesstimates" - none of which came close to the actual number of gifts the students had donated, which was 418.
The 418 gifts will be now be mailed to Fry for his distribution to the poor children of Afghanistan. Fry will also be receiving a gift of a video of Wednesday's 100th Day celebration at Aurelia, including an enthusiastic "Hello Mr. Fry!" from all of his students.