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Pumpernickel and her quadricorn

Arlington Heights, IL – What on earth could be better than a unicorn?

The answer to that question is easy for one fourth grader at Westgate.

“A quadricorn, of course,” Sophia Steinstra said without skipping a beat.

You see, according to Steinstra, her big imagination and her interest in comedy opens her mind up to obscure and fun ideas. And those two qualities are not to be stifled at Westgate, especially with her gym teacher Al Helmann.

“It’s inspirational to see how comfortable [Sophia] is with who she is as a person,” Helmann said.

That is why Helmann took a special interest in Steinstra when she suggested they start a business partnership with the company Fathead revolving around the idea of quadricorns. Her idea was to get Fathead to design and make a quadricorn Fathead and sell it to the public.

Helmann, who calls Sophia Pumpernickel, a nickname the two came up with together, promised his creative student that if she put together a business proposal, he would send it into Fathead for consideration.

“I first went to him and got on my knee as a proposal,” Steinstra said, laughing. “But that wasn’t what Coach H was talking about.”

Steinstra wrote two drafts of this business proposal before Helmann was satisfied with her work and sent it in, along with a picture of the quadricorn, to Fathead.

“We would like to offer you a once in a lifetime opportunity to add a fresh, new face to your Fathead lineup!” the proposal read. “This new Fathead will revolutionize the Fathead line and increase your sales by 200%.”

The difference between a quadricorn and a unicorn, according to Steinstra, is the color and the amount of horns. Quadricorns have four horns and are purple and are friendlier, of course.

Fathead must have agreed, because they responded positively to Helmann and Steinstra’s request.

“We believe that your glorious creation needs to be produced,” Fathead wrote back.

After a couple more emails, going back and forth, Fathead produced and sent Steinstra the quadricorn design and it now hangs above her bed, for her to see every day.

“When I see that on my ceiling,” Steinstra said, “it makes me proud. It makes me want to keep on being creative and different, even if people think it’s a little weird.”

That is exactly what Helmann hoped the girl, he, and only he, calls Pumpernickel was going to learn.

“I wanted the kids to see that a little bit of creativity and uniqueness can go a long way,” the D25 gym teacher said. “The norm is only what people say it is, and I hope kids see that everyday.”

Adam Harris