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Rotterdam teacher blends two lives

"Karolyn made a journal for each (now flattened) student," she said. "It was personal for each one of them."

They made the three-day trip down to Antarctic and toured the mountains, skiways, planes and ice. They went every place De Vito did.

However, it did not always go as planned.

"I decided to take them with me on a mission to the South Pole," De Vito said. "I taped each student in the class to a plastic sheet, so I could take their picture at the Pole sign . What I didn't realize is the tape doesn't stick well in below zero temperatures. Many of them started blowing away across the snow."

With the help of the ground crew at the South Pole Station, they retrieved each student from the ice.

"I was so scared I was going to lose one of them," she added. "Could you imagine coming back and saying, 'Sorry I lost you at the South Pole.'"

When they returned to Bradt, the non-flat students interviewed De Vito.

"They were elated, and the experience made them feel so special," Dennis said. "It is not often that a child could say their Flat Stanley went to Antarctica."

This will not be the last time De Vito will blend the life of a soldier and a teacher.

"I am working to set up a pen-pal program with the school in Greenland," she said. "I met with the teacher this week, and we are working out the logistics."

The 109th is based in Kangerlussuaq while in Greenland. It is a settlement of about 500 permanent residents on the site of a former U.S. airbase 75 miles from the western coast of Greenland. The mix of cultures helps De Vito's students experience life outside Schenectady County.

"She is always full of energy," Mohonasen Athletic Director Joe Scalise said of De Vito. "Kids see her passion and energy. It flows into her teaching."

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