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Linn Grove Class Visited By 4th Grader in Texas

In many ways, Riley Furlong, a 4th grade student from Highland Park Elementary in Austin, Texas is just like any of our 4th graders at Linn-Mar. She loves her family, friends, teachers, and school. It’s Riley’s outlook on life, her courage, and her battle with leukemia that sets her apart from other kids her age.Linn Grove Riley Visit 01

Since being diagnosed with cancer in 2017, Riley has been unable to attend class at school. However, that didn’t stop her classmates from coming up with a way to include Riley in their physical education class through the use of technology.

According to Linn Grove’s Physical Education Teacher Tanner Roos, the class uses the app FaceTime to connect with Riley at least once a week. Recently, a social media post showed “how her classmates carry a tablet around the gym as if she was actually in the room,” he said.

Roos, who hosts a physical education YouTube show with a counterpart in North Dakota (Jason Steele), recently interviewed Riley’s PE teacher during the show. They discussed how the school has been able to connect with Riley and continue to include her in their class. When the show was over, the three continued to talk about Riley. Then, the thought of having her visit their classrooms (Roos and Steele’s) using virtual technology to bring the students together came up. This quickly Linn Grove Riley Visit 02evolved into the idea of having Riley visit classrooms in all 50 states.

Last week (after a previous stop to Steele’s class in Perkett Elementary in North Dakota), Riley visited Roos’ 4th grade class at Linn Grove and participated in a variety of activities. At the end of the class, students were able to ask Riley questions about her life and health. Riley had also done some homework asking if anyone in the class had ever ridden Linn Grove Riley Visit 04on a tractor, what their favorite baseball team was, and what was the highest point in Iowa. Riley shared, “it’s Hawkeye Point and it’s 1,670 feet.”

Thus far, numerous other states plan to have Riley “visit” their class with even more showing interest.

“It was such a wonderful thing for her and her classmates,” Roos said. He went on to say that he hopes our students “realize their world is a lot bigger than just Linn Grove. I want them to see past the community and state,” he said.

Riley, who received a bone marrow transplant from her sister, hopes to go back to school following the influenza season.