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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/HeatherMalia.