A sharp 10-year-old student in New York state recently found an unintended message on his pencil that left the distributor scrambling to erase the blunder.
Kodi Mosier, a 4th grader at the 450-student Ticonderoga Elementary School, received a pencil that read "Too Cool to Do Drugs" from the local police department at a drug-awareness program this past fall.
But when the pencil was sharpened, the first words were eliminated, changing the message to read "Cool to Do Drugs" and then just "Do Drugs."
The boy notified the police, suggesting that they reverse the direction of the message so that "Too Cool" started at the eraser end of the pencil.
Police officials forwarded the letter to the Bureau for At-Risk Youth, the company that supplied the pencils.
Ed Werz, the president of the Plainview, N.Y.-based distributor of drug- and violence-prevention products, said although about 100,000 of those pencils were sold, the 4th grader was the only one who alerted the company about the problem.
For that, the company has decided to follow Kodi's suggestion and also make him an unofficial monitor of their products.
A district's field trip has set a new world record.
Officials at the Guinness Book of Records have told students and administrators in West Palm Beach, Fla., that their 140,000-student district's field trip last year was the world's largest.
More than 4,000 students and 150 chaperones traveled from Florida to Washington, D.C., over a four-week period in February and March. The district rented an Amtrak train, and every weekend about 1,000 students and several chaperones took the 20-hour train ride.
The cost of the field trip was $460 per person, and that covered transportation, the hotel, and food. The annual trip, which began in 1959, is open to all 5th graders who are members of the district's safety-patrol association.
"This serves as a reward and a learning experience to students," said Buzz Spooner, the president of the West Palm Beach Safety Patrol Association and the principal of Wellington Elementary School.
Because not all records are published in the Guinness Book of Records, Mr. Spooner said that school officials will have to wait until February or March to find out if West Palm Beach will be included in the new edition.
--Michelle Galley & Karen L. Abercrombie
Vol. 18, Issue 18, Page 3