Local elementary students finally meet their college student pen pals

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GRACEVILLE, Fla. (WMBB)–Some Graceville Elementary School students have been writing to pen pals this school year from over at Chipola College.
On Tuesday, they met for the first time.

In August, students in Chipola College’s Elementary Education Program received their new pen pals.

Since then, they have written each other back and forth, forming friendships and learning new skills.

“Their sentences have increased because the spelling is correct, we’ve also noticed that they’ve used bigger words than they did at the beginning. So it’s encouraged fluency, literacy, comprehension…we’ve really seen that grow first hand,” said Tabitha Conrad, an Elementary Education Program student.

Dr. JuJuan Clark, an education instructor at Chipola College launched the program. He says it teaches future teachers how to analyze writing while teaching the kids how to express their feelings through pen and paper.

“It has shown me that the more you include children hands-on in writing, the more information they can consume and learn and therefore the more they know,” Conrad said.

After months of writing back and forth, unsure of who was on the other end, the pen pals met for the first time Tuesday and they shared pizza, laughs, and gifts.

“It’s been cool because I also do my observation hours here so I’ve always been looking to see who he is but I never knew who he was,” said Alexandria Horton, an Elementary Education Program student.

Parents are also impressed. They say they’ve noticed their children are more excited to write.

“It’s truthfully helped him to formulate ideas and to actually put his ideas in writing. It took a little while at first due to him being 5 but once he got the hang of it, it was perfect,” said Sharaese Sutton, a parent of a Graceville Elementary student.

Dr. Clark hopes to continue the program with future students next semester.

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