OTTUMWA— A fifth grade research project has resulted in a Horace Mann student receiving a card from Jane Goodall, a famous British primatologist who is known for her work with chimpanzees.
As a third grader, Skylar Kozak read a book about Goodall as part of an assignment on reading about someone famous. She selected Goodall as the topic for her fifth grade research project, remembering she found her “really interesting.” The project includes writing a three-page paper, creating a poster, preparing and memorizing a script for a wax museum exhibit, and portraying the person during the annual museum exhibit in May. The project takes about two months, according to Courtney Brown, Kozaks’s fifth grade teacher.
Kozak decided to write to Goodall and included a rubber band monkey she had made. A response arrived last week. “I was shaking while I was opening it,” confessed Kozak. The card thanked Kozak for the clever rubber band monkey, included her autograph, and was sent with some promotional material from the Jane Goodall Institute in Vienna, Virginia.
“I was so excited,” said Kozak. “Oh my gosh!” She shared the correspondence with both fifth grade classes, the principal, the secretary, and her third grade teacher, Mrs. Ingle.
When Goodall was young, she loved living things, according to Kozak. As she became older, “she became famous because she loved them.” The fifth grader also has a love of animals. She hopes to become a photographer when she grows up. “I want to take pictures of animals around the world.” She looks at Goodall for inspiration. “She had a dream and is still doing it,” Kozak said. “I could do it.”