Progress 3: Iditarod leaves long-lasting impression on Camanche teacher
When Erin Montgomery looks back on her teaching career, there will be one achievement that stands out among the rest — taking part in the Iditarod dog sled race.It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Camanche Middle School teacher, and one she said wouldn't have happened without support — support from her friends, family and school district.Now, that it's all said and done, Montgomery has a new outlook on life, one that she's hoping to share with all of the staff, faculty and students of the Camanche School District."It was a very life-changing experience for me," Montgomery said. "The whole year-long aspect of it was kind of like going to college — there was excitement but you didn't really know what to expect. But I think the experience was invaluable for myself as a teacher, and will be invaluable for my students." Her adventure began in 2013 when she first started investigating the Iditarod Teacher on the Trail program. As a dog-lover, Montgomery said she had always been fascinated by the annual dog sled race, so when the opportunity presented itself to apply for the program, she couldn't pass it up.Eventually, Montgomery learned in the spring 2014 that she had been selected as the 2015 Iditarod Teacher on the Trail, which meant that summer would be spent preparing for a nearly year-long commitment.Still backed by her fellow teachers, administrators and family, she knew the commitment would require a lot of her, but felt the adventure ahead would greatly outweigh any reservations."I've said this a lot, but it really was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Montgomery said. "I was able to still communicate with my class, and I Skyped with my mom's (also a teacher at Camanche Middle School) class so that was nice. But the whole experience was just so amazing, everyday something different. It's really difficult to put into words."Her students also gave her the motivation to take part in the program, and have been eager to learn about the adventure now that she's returned.