Kim Ostby's third-grade class learned mapping skills and letter writing over the last year. They wrote to Kimball semi-truck driver Brian Gageby and followed his travels. Gageby wrote postcards once a week. Each time he wrote, he would address a certain student. This student was responsible for reading the postcard aloud to the class, tracking his travel on the class' map and writing back. "Students mostly wrote and asked questions like how you are doing, where you have been, things they like to do or how their school work is going," said Ostby. The class learned how to convey thoughts through their writing. "The best part was getting all of the postcards," said third-grader Jayme Zwilling. "They told us what he was doing." Her favorite postcard had three koala bears on it. By tracking Gageby's travels, the students learned about different states and where they are located. "It allowed students to learn where we are in the world," Ostby said. In addition to learning writing and mapping skills, the class also completed a graduation standard. "One of our graduation standards is inquiry," explained Ostby. Stu-dents learned the art of interviewing and how to formulate and ask open-ended questions. Gageby visited the third graders Friday, May 30 and you could tell that they had been preparing for the event. Students excitedly asked questions and patiently took turns raising their hands. "Where do you eat?" "Do you ever stay in hotels?" "What was is the easiest/hardest state to drive through?" "What is your typical day like?" Gageby answered each of the students' questions and informed them that his typical day on-the-road included driving for about ten hours. He also sleeps and eats in the truck. Since a trucker's life is always on the move, Gageby said he needs to keep going so he can get to his pick-up and drop-off sites on time. "Most often, I eat at fast food restaurants," he said. Sometimes, Gageby stays in hotels when he is waiting for a load. He said the easiest state to drive through is Alabama, while the hardest state is New York. After asking many questions, the class went outside and viewed Gageby's truck. Gageby invited the students to tour the cab area. Students also could look around the truck and climb into the back of the trailer. "Seeing the truck was the best," said pupil Luke Serbus. "I liked that the truck has a bunk bed. It's cool," said third-grader Claire Arnold. Other students thought that meeting Gageby was the best part. "I would like to see him again," said Alyssa Hurrle. The history of the project Trucker buddy is a national program that connects truckers and students, said Gageby. Locally, the program began with fifth-grade teacher Marilyn Wirth. Her brother was a truck driver and previously wrote to her class. When he quit this occupation, the program ended, until Wirth found out that Gageby had the same occupation. With Gageby's eldest daughter in Wirth's class, she asked him if he would be interested in this project. He agreed and also decided to write to the class that his youngest daughter, Amanda, was in - Ostby's. "This has really been an experience for me," said Gageby. "I have enjoyed communicating with the kids and seeing that there is interest in what I do." Students also enjoyed the project. Mrs. Ostby said, "Any time you can take a curriculum and put a live event with it, learning is better."