In the wake of the tragedy last month in El Paso, two elementary teachers from El Paso sent out requests for supportive messages for their students. Splendora Early High School teacher Kelly Duncan responded to the call.
“We are always looking for opportunities for authentic writing, and the students were eager to show kindness and support to those returning to school in El Paso,” said Duncan.
He provided Houston postcards and stamps for the students to use. The students shared thoughts and ideas before crafting heartfelt letters of hope and encouragement for the upcoming school year as well as sharing a bit of their personal stories with the elementary students.
“Our students drafted messages, reviewed them with peers, and then I checked them for grammar, punctuation, and capitalization. Finally, they copied their notes in their best handwriting, wrote the names and addresses of the teachers to whom the messages would be sent, and placed postcard stamps on the cards,” added Duncan.
The students liked the assignment, too. Seventh-grader Carol Reyes Robledo said she was happy to show her support and kindness to the young students in El Paso by writing to them to tell them.
Eighth-grader Dyani Avila said, “Just getting a note from someone far away to show they care about you can be something special when bad things happen. I feel good about writing to tell them they are important and loved.”
Duncan teaches newcomer students who have been in the U.S. 12 months or less and have a beginner level of English proficiency at the junior high and high school, English for Speakers of Other Languages I and II, and English as a Second Language courses. He was proud of the effort that his students put into the assignment.
“I am proud of their genuine kindness and generosity they exhibit not just on that day, but each day. I am honored to be working with them to gain English proficiency and learning from them through the stories and experiences they share with me,” he said.