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Class assignment turns into firefighter diversion

Posted: September 7, 2009 8:45 p.m.
Updated: September 8, 2009 8:21 a.m.

Capt. Anthony Le Barge accepts cards for firefighters camped in Central Park from La Mesa Junior High student Adam Engberg.

A classroom assignment at La Mesa Junior High School turned into a boon for firefighters camping out in Santa Clarita's Central Park while fighting the nearby Station Fire.

Adam Engberg, then a seventh grade student in Jeffrey Aronsky's business math class, wrote a letter to Wynn Casinos last year requesting an annual report to be used in a business math segment, and asking for "any other materials the company wants to send." The response was the requested report, along with a box containing 1,200 decks of playing cards.

La Mesa originally earmarked many of the playing cards for emergency packets to be used by students and their families in the event of a major earthquake which would require students to shelter at school. That left a large number of decks still available to share with the community.

Those cards were put to good use, offering a diversion to tired firefighters waiting at the local park for their shifts on active duty to begin. A box with more than 70 new decks was delivered to the incident command post by Engberg, Aronsky, La Mesa Principal Pete Fries and Hart District supervisor of health services, Christine Amstutz.

Now an eighth grader, Adam continues to attend Aronsky's business math class and take part in the Stock Market Game, which precipitated his letter to Wynn Casinos. Adam's Stock Market Game team "purchased" stock in the casinos as part of the game, and writing a business letter was one of the assignments for both the class and the game.

Adam is planning a follow-up letter to Wynn, showing that the casino's product donation has been put to good use.


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