Lilly Endowment Incorporated awarded a Teacher Creativity Fellowship to Hershey Elementary School teacher Daniel Lehe. The organization will support the third grade teacher’s pursuit to summit the highest points in each state.
A trip to South Dakota in 2018 ignited Lehe’s passion for hiking and introduced him to a new ambition: highpointing. When he reached the summit of Black Elk Peak, the highest point in the state and the tallest mountain east of the Rocky Mountains, he marveled at the breathtaking views. “I wondered to myself if the high points of every other state could be this spectacular,” says Lehe. “On that day, I made up my mind that I would reach the highest points in every state.”
With the Lilly Endowment, Lehe hopes to reach new heights in seven more states, including Gannett Peak in Wyoming and Mt. Whitney in California. He hopes to eventually cross all 50 states off his list. Thus far, he has summited the high points of 40 states, including Colorado, New Mexico and Hawaii.
Lehe enjoys sharing his adventures with his students by incorporating his travels into social studies and narrative writing lessons. He’s been a teacher for 10 years, all with TSC, and holds a bachelor's degree from Purdue University.
“Since taking on this endeavor, it has been so much fun to discuss hiking and show pictures from my trips with my classes,” Lehe says. “One tradition I have is to send a postcard at the end of the summer to my incoming students with some of my photos from my highpointing adventures.”