Children in the Fairview Elementary after-school program, from left to right, Destiny Muzio, Aniyah Page and Sedyas Green work on homework Thursday. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)


Students write positive letters to the editor

By From page A1 | December 03, 2012

FAIRFIELD — Fairview Elementary School fourth-grader T’kai Smith begged and pleaded with her after-school Kids Corner teachers to take a field trip to the Daily Republic.

Last year, she and her fellow Kids Corner students finally got to take that trip, visiting everything from the newsroom to the printing press.

Homework instructor Verdell Cray had each of her first- through fifth-graders write a letter to the editor in thanks. Smith wrote the following:

“Dear Editor: Thanks for the tour. It was awesome. I want to come there more than 50 times. Can we come again? If yes, thanks. From T’kai Smith.”

More than 20 similar hand-written letters to the editor arrived in a yellow bag decorated by the students. While Cray’s hope was to have the letters published, her ultimate goal was to have her the voices of her students heard.

“I wanted them to write positive thoughts to the editor,” she said. “People respond to positive things, even from children.”

Cray, an educator for 35 years, has always taught her students that if they speak positively, people will listen.

Letters to the editor seemed an appropriate forum. This gave her students a chance to give their thanks while also expressing positive messages that hopefully the world could read.

“This is how you get your thoughts across. And people read the letters to the editor,” Cray said.

In addition to writing about something positive, Cray had her students go into detail about what they do at Kids Corner.

Kids Corner is a district-wide elementary school after-school program that supplements school curriculum through homework assistance, physical activities and enrichment activities. The program is located at Anna Kyle, Fairview, David Weir, Sheldon, Cleo Gordon and Tolenas elementary schools.

Some students such as fifth-grader Aurelio Benavidez got right to the point.

“Dear Editor: Our school is cool.” Although not all of the students followed Cray’s guidelines, most were enthusiastic to write about their school.

Other students such as third-grader Alexis Pagtalonia wrote in detail about what they do every day at Kids Corner.

Whatever they wrote about, the students hope that their many messages of positivity are heard – or read – loud and clear.

“(Adults) listen to positive things because it’s kinder,” said third-grader Jorge Ceja.

Reach Heather Ah San at 427-6977 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/HeatherMalia.

Heather Ah San

Heather Ah San

Heather Ah San covers Rio Vista, features and general news for the Daily Republic. She received her bachelors of art degree from the University of Oregon.

Discussion | 5 comments

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  • LilDecember 02, 2012 - 5:41 pm

    I remember a field trip to the Daily Republic when I was in fifth grade. It was pretty cool. I think I was more impressed with the printers because they were so loud. I'm sorry I didn't write you guys a letter then but I wanted to say thanks, even if it is 35 years late!

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  • CarmenDecember 03, 2012 - 6:26 am

    It would be nice if the "adults" who frequently pen letters to the editor followed the positive example set forth by these young people. The letters penned by adults whose constant and incessant harping on the negative are truly unsettling and counterproductive.

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  • Rich GiddensDecember 03, 2012 - 11:00 am

    You people are full of it--the media exists to put the public discourse before us. Only nations like Iran and North Korea have weak nuetered government obeying news media lapdogs that just passively accomodate the dictates of government, government unions and self-serving government leaders and employees.

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  • mike kirchubelDecember 03, 2012 - 9:11 am

    Thank you, Daily Republic, for printing one of those lovely third-grader letters to the editor in todday's paper.

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  • The SugarJarDecember 03, 2012 - 7:19 pm

    It is a very good exercise to look at a situation, or a person, and find something positive about it. Writing it out--or speaking it--both good. Complaining about that which is less than good also has its place--but there's something very powerful if you can look at that which you find complaint-worthy and find something else there too. Finding the positive gives the individual more than just a hammer in their toolbox. :)

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