Students write letters to vets

  • South Meadow School students Kryslin Stearns and Madison Hatt work on typing hand-written letters to be sent out to area veterans.  Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • A.J. Reagan, left, Ryan Gorman, Ayden Valentine and Kryslin Stearns work to type letters to be mailed to area veterans.  Staff photo by Ashley SaarI

  • Daisy Ober, 10, of Dublin checks her letter to an area veteran while typing it.  Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, November 14, 2016 6:11PM

Despite the rise of email, the art of letter writing is not yet lost.

At South Meadow School, Sarah Norby’s class is learning how to write a friendly letter. But instead of just practicing, they’re going to put their new skills to the test by sending a letter – along with their messages of thanks – to servicemen and women past and present.

“You don’t get to talk to people in the military every day,” said 11-year-old Brady Carpentiere of Temple. “It’s definitely made me excited to meet them.”

“I have never talked to anyone who’s a veteran,” agreed Ollie Theriault, 11, of Peterborough. 

Norby said the ultimate goal of her students exchanging letters with these veterans is to invite them to a thank-you breakfast hosted in December.

SMS has been doing this letter exchange with local veterans for more than 10 years, said Norby. The exchange has included  veterans ranging from World War II survivors to those in active duty. Some of the children know who their veteran is. Some don’t, and have to use their letters to ask basic questions about what branch of the military they served in, or when. Some, she said, strike up quite the inter-generational conversation.

“Last year, we had 12 or 14 veterans write back,” said Norby. “Some of them write back and forth multiple times.”

“They were involved in things that are pretty life-changing,” said Daisy Ober, 10, of Dublin. “I want to talk to them about how they coped with the fear.”

In their introductory letters, students asked veterans about the things that they were curious about – their military service, if they’d ever been in combat and whether they made the military their career – but they also took the time to make sure they expressed their gratitude. 

“I think it’s a good idea to make sure that we thank them for what they’re doing for us,” said Addison Lustenberger, 11, of Peterborough.

On Dec. 13, most of the veterans that the students sent letters to will attend a breakfast at SMS, where they will get the chance to meet their pen pals, answer their questions, and often, share artifacts and pictures of their time in service.

“You see a totally different side of the kids during it,” said Norby. “It gets them so excited. It’s one of those things that makes me cry every time.”


Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.