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They Sent Letters!

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Alright, here we go! I have so much to share with all of you! Now I’m a bit more put together (although the laundry still isn’t done)– look for a veritable bevy of new posts in the coming days!
If you’ve been reading since at least December, you’ll remember that some of my coworkers and I teamed up and sent care packages full of letters, holiday decorations, and cookies to John’s command in Afghanistan. (If you missed that post, you can catch up by reading it here!)
It wasn’t our intention to start a pen pal program with the service members; rather, we wanted our students to write coherent, cohesive letters to someone they didn’t know and we wanted to spread some holiday cheer to John’s cowokers.
Over the past month and a half, we started receiving letters back! For many of my students– who, remember are between the ages of 15 and 17– this was the first time they had written or received a letter. In. Their. Lives.
They were extremely excited, so we posted them on one of my bulletin boards. You can see that we amassed quite a collection of post cards, letters, notes, and pictures.
My favorite moment came when Bri opened her letter. I had been so excited to hand it to her– she has a history of poor grades and bad attendance. However, with this project, she worked  so very hard on it, with so much care and pride, that I wanted to make sure that the response was extra special for her.
I gave it to her the moment I saw her– in the hallway. She opened it, and began reading. It was from John’s commander and on official letterhead. At the end of reading it (after apologizing profusely for being a slow reader), she pulled a small Christmas card out of the envelope. Even though the printing of the photo on the front was a little grainy, I could make out John’s commander… and John’s roommate… and… John.
And then I started tearing up in front of one of my students. Good tears, of course, but they were still tears.
Because I teach semester-long classes, we can’t keep up a pen pal program since my fall students have now transitioned to other classes. We’ll have to come up with something to do this spring semester!
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18 Responses

    1. Letters are so important to me, and I was glad that I could share that with my kids. It was crazy how excited they were! :)

  1. That is such a great idea! I can’t imagine how much the soldiers appreciate it and what an experience it is for your students!

  2. That’s awesome, both for John and his coworkers and for your students. I used to love when we had penpals in school, I hadn’t really thought about the fact that it would die out. I am sure you will find a great project for your spring semester students!

    1. That was something I didn’t think of either when I was a kid! We just couldn’t sustain it, but we accomplished what we set out to do, which is something. :-)

  3. I love this! When I was younger I did the adopt a soldier programs but I never got a letter back. Well, I never got a letter back until I started emailing a soldier and now I’m married to him. ;) I’m so happy for Bri!

    1. What an amazing love story! I know someone that the same thing happened to– it’s the stuff movies are made of!

  4. I’m happy to read that your students are writing letters! I hope that form of communication doesn’t cease to exist- it’s the only reason I check the mail, really.

    1. I agree– letters are amazing. I don’t think it will ever truly die. There will always be us romantics to keep it alive. :-)

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