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Write on!

Prin Sainrungsri '27

Feb 16, 2024

Since the fall, members of the senior class have been writing pen pal letters to elementary schoolers in the local Tuscarora school district. The letters provide a meaningful avenue for seniors to share their life experiences with unfamiliar young minds and connect with the local community. 

According to Emily Parsons, Director of Community Engagement, who led the initiative, "The PenPal program actually started with Kristin Ahlgren, the senior class dean. She was looking for a service project for the class, and she came to me to see if we could put something together." 

Parsons contacted Tom Bradley, the principal at local St. Thomas Elementary School, to establish a PenPal program for his school's third, fourth, and fifth graders and Mercersburg Academy’s seniors. 

"[Mr. Bradley] was really excited about the idea, so we've been able to create a great partnership with St. Thomas Elementary School. I have the benefit of being able to read the letters as they come in and go out, and I just love the connections that are being made between the groups of students. I'm also so grateful to the senior advisors and Ms. Ahlgren, who have been so helpful with the project," Parsons added.

The program not only creates chances for community bonds to be strengthened but also serves as a platform for seniors to share the lessons they've learned from life and to reminisce about their childhood. Paloma Casariego ’24 said, "After I read that my pen pal's favorite activity was to play soccer, she immediately reminded me of my childhood and my passion for soccer when I was her age."

Other seniors, such as Kevin Hang ’24 and Abhinandan Bam ’24, expressed their enthusiasm for the recent video activity they did. "The videos we did last week were a lot of fun," Bam said. "It's nice for us to tell these young kids about things like high school and share with them our experiences." 

Regarding what they've learned about their pen pals so far, Hang noted his pen pal's interest in Minecraft, while Bam mentioned his pen pal's love for pizza.

It has been evident that pen pal letters are more than just a means of communication. They also bring warmth to the seniors involved in the program. Bori Miryusupov '24 agrees with this statement and speaks of how the program is an excellent way for seniors to feel warmth from talking to these children; he says, "It's almost like looking back into your childhood and being able to feel or empathize with those emotions and feelings again." 

Overall, senior Pen Pal letters has been a great service project connecting the diverse senior student body with local youngsters. From sharing their daily lives to expressing their interests and passions by writing letters and exchanging videos, the program has been a great way to give back to the community.

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