HOLDEN, Mass. — The third-graders at Mayo Elementary School had their first meeting with their senior pen-pals Thursday, the kick-off to a program that has been part of the school tradition for nearly thirty years.
More than 80 pairs of students and seniors met after school to share stories, songs, photos and interests over snacks and cider, planting the first seeds of a relationship that will continue to sprout as they exchange letters four times over the year.
In fact, the bond that has blossomed from the program has often lasted beyond third grade. According to Kate White, one of the third-grade teachers at Mayo, her oldest child continued to correspond with their pen-pal even through high school.
Some of the senior volunteers have been involved for almost as long, exchanging letters back and forth with Holden's young ones every year
One longtime pen-pal, Helen Wisner, said the pen-pal program was one of the most fun activities she's been involved in.
Fellow pen-pal Al Sculthorpe has been part of the program four times, and was excited to get to know the boys he was paired with for the year.
"I like to encourage kids to write, and this is one good way to do it," said Sculthorpe. "This is also a great opportunity for the students to mix with adults."