Andrew Pomicter, December's Trucker Buddy of the Month, poses with Christina Demonbreun's elementary school class.
JEFFERSON, Ga. — After counting down the days to their Trucker Buddy’s visit, the second-grade students in Christina Demonbreun’s class were so excited you would have thought Santa Claus was coming.
“The kids couldn’t wait. He was such an awesome Trucker Buddy to them,” Demonbreun said of her 2006-2007 school year experience with her Trucker Buddy, Andrew Pomicter. The driver, who was paired with Demonbreun’s class at Sunrise Elementary School in Ocala, Fla., has been named December’s Trucker Buddy of the Month. “He wrote lengthy letters, sent postcards and also sent photographs. He also wrote information on the face of the photos to explain what was going on, such as where the straps are, tight straps (versus) loose straps. I have to say that this experience was so beneficial for my students.”
At the beginning of the year, the students coloured in their own United States maps and each made a “Trucker Buddy” folder to keep it in. Every week when Pomicter’s postcard arrived or pictures or letters the students would put a sticker on the state from which his correspondence came.
“I did not assist in this. It was up to them to find the states themselves,” Demonbreun explained. “This was an awesome way for them to learn where the states are. It was so much fun for them! They never dreaded it.”
The class also had a Trucker Buddy bulletin board with a full-size map on it, where the teacher put the photos, letters and postcards.
“They were able to write to Andy (or Drew, as he known on the job site), when they were in the writing centres. Again, they never complained,” Demonbreun said. “They really learned the proper letter-writing skills, since they had to do it so often. Letter writing is a second-grade skill, and believe me, they mastered it by the end of the year.”
Pomicter made his visit educational as well. He cut up two pieces of moulding for each of the 20 students, and provided a chart for each one so that he could teach them how to read a moulding diagram. During the tour of his truck, Pomicter was able to explain in person the information he provided through his correspondence: the engine, where the cargo was, how the trailer gets loaded and how to strap down a load, including the significance of tight and loose straps.
The students were even delighted to learn about snakes by meeting Striker, Pomicter’s travelling companion.
“I can’t say enough good things about Drew,” the teacher added. “In a nutshell, my kids learned to write letters effectively and correctly, all about the United States and where the states are and about being a trucker from driving a truck to the parts of the truck. They learned all this through the Trucker Buddy program, in such a meaningful, real-life way. This is a much more effective way for young children to learn, than by lectures and books.”
Pomicter, an independent owner/operator who runs two trucks with his company Dragon & Feline Trucking in Weirsdale, Fla., joined the program in 2006. He and his teacher are matched together again for the current school year.
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