theadanews.com - Ada, Oklahoma

Local News

October 29, 2012

Precious Cargo

Hayes kids must bear wait to learn from pal

Ada — Special To The News

First and second grade students at Hayes Grade Center in Ada were treated to a special event on Friday when a Walmart driver from the Sanger, Texas, Distribution Center arrived to pick up a very important guest.

According to Pat Stewart, principal, this VIP guest — a stuffed bear known as Hayes the Trucking Buddy — has been anxiously awaiting his departure date so he could begin his tour around the United States.

Stewart said the trucking buddy project was implemented this year by special education teacher Sharon Cunningham. The project involves matching a classroom, or in this care an entire school, with a professional driver who becomes a viable source of enhanced learning opportunities.

The professional driver will take Hayes trucking for a few weeks before transferring him to another driver, then another, then another.

Eventually, Hayes will have the opportunity to travel around the great United States.

Secret sources, however, have stated he would like to visit Alaska as his backpack boasts a sign that says “Alaska or Bust.”

Hayes in going to see many people, places and things during his six-month journey. He will keep track of his adventure via journal, photographs, e-mail, and letters while the students back home use the information he gathers to learn about social studies, history, geography, mathematics, reading and language arts.

Prior to seeing Hayes off, professional driver Michael Cunningham, also treated the students to a lesson about truck safety. The students were able to tour the big 18-wheeler and learn important safety guidelines of sharing the road with trucks.

Michael is a driver for Walmart Private Fleet and is married to teacher Sharon Cunningham. He will be visiting the student at Hayes school throughout the year keeping them informed of their trucking buddy’s whereabouts and sharing stories about the road.

Trucker Buddy International is a non profit organization started in 1992 and is dedicated to helping educate and mentor school children via a pen pal relationship between professional truck drivers and children in grades K-8.

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