Derby Week Team Outreach

Derby Week Team Outreach

What’s derby week like in the education department? A lot of miles. In the past, we were able to book one field trip per day during the week leading up to Derby. With record crowds at the museum and the racetrack in the last few years, (i.e. the phenomenon of Thurby) it’s best to take our programs offsite, and thus has started the tradition of the Derby Week Outreach Trip. Each Fall, Ronnie and I decide where we would like to visit, and this year we set our sights on the Land Between the Lakes.

Normally, we visit schools from Monday – Wednesday of Derby Week, but due to an unusually warm winter with very few snow days, state testing fell during the first week of May for some schools. Therefore, our trip was condensed to Monday and Tuesday.

Monday’s route is highlighted in red and Tuesday’s route is highlighted in blue.  

We started at the top, center of the state Monday morning and ended at the bottom, far left corner of the state Monday evening. “How many miles did you drive??” you ask. Round trip- 657 to be exact (which doesn’t include a 20 mile detour due to construction.)

Our first stop- Ohio County. We LOVE Ohio County Schools. They have been a strong supporter of the outreach program from the very beginning and both Fordsville Elementary and Horse Branch Elementary brought field trips to the Kentucky Derby Museum this year. So as a thank you, we offered them outreach visits on the Monday of Derby Week.

Then, it was on to Carr Elementary for an after school program for a group of fun and excited 3rd – 7th graders.

The school sits right on the state line in Fulton, Kentucky. Across the street- South Fulton, Tennessee.

Afterward, we packed up and backtracked north for our evening accommodations at the Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park.

This place is highly recommended if you’re looking for a “stay-cation” and apparently you can rent a houseboat for a week! I know what you’re thinking, and yes, there is a waterslide built into the houseboat.

The next morning, we loaded the car and set out for Day 2. Outreach often comes with a glitch- conflicting directions. I usually print a google map copy and use the GPS in the car when I head out into the state. Most of the time, one set is correct, but not today.

We started towards our first school, Central Elementary in Marshall County, which neither of us had visited before.  I tried to plug in the directions, but the GPS rejected the school’s address as a valid entry. Both sets of directions sent us in the opposite direction of the town, which prompted Ronnie to co-pilot on his marvelous iPhone while I navigated through construction zone after construction zone. He told me to exit the parkway 8 miles earlier than directed by the GPS, but as we merged towards the off ramp, the school’s marker disappeared on his map. “Oh no!” he yells. “Where did it go? Just take the first left and we’ll figure something out.” And wouldn’t you know it, as we turned off the highway in frustration and confusion, we see the school zone lights flashing in the distance and by a stroke of luck, turned into their parking lot with 2 minutes to spare.

I helped him drag his kits into the main office and jumped back in the car to drive on to Sedalia Elementary in Graves County, another amazing school to visit. We each taught six programs to almost 1,000 smiling faces that day and set out for a long drive home.

Be sure to tune in Saturday for the main event and see which horse we’ll be talking about next school year!

Heather Hill

Heather Hill

Outreach Educator for the Kentucky Derby Museum.