Former Abbott teacher Ronna Edelstein came up with the idea of having 8th graders write letters to themselves, then, four years later, right before high school graduation, mailing them the letters they authored. This tradition has been going on for more than twenty years, impacting students’ lives.
Now it is time for the graduating class of 2014 who attended Abbott Middle School to receive their letters. Mrs. Fay Houry and Mr. Matthew Harbron, teachers at Abbott Middle School, are excited to be sending them out. The teachers want the students to be able to reflect on who they were versus who they are now. Harbron says, “When students read their letters four years after they wrote them, I’d like them to realize how much they have grown and changed. Students have experienced many opportunities that allowed them to define who they will be.” It is gratifying for these teachers to see their students grow up and become the people they are. Houry comments, “I will be sending out my first set of letters this year and I am really excited because I know students are anxiously awaiting them.” These letters impact these students so directly and personally. Reaching out to these students after all these years, Houry describes what she wants her former students to know about the letters and her personal emotions. “They were the group that made me love teaching 8th grade and I know that there is much that was put into what they wrote. I wish I could see their expressions and faces as they open up the letters.” Harbron also has a few words to say about what he wants his students to know, “It’s important to remember where we came from so we can make adjustments for a successful future.”
Talking to the seniors receiving their letters reveals a deeper understanding of the importance of these letters. Senior Adaija Packnett “I am really excited to reflect on how I changed from an 8th grader to a high school senior. These letters give me a chance to see how I thought high school was going to be and how it actually is.” Packnett is a student active in the drama department and has “loved, hated, and enjoyed” her high school experience. Student, Erica Teklinski talks about her letter after she revised it. “I got my letter last Thursday, May 8th. I was surprised because it took me back to the moment of writing it. I thought about how time really flies by and how much I miss Abbott Middle School and all the friends I had and all the good memories.” After talking to Teklinksi, Zariah Perkins adds on to the conversation, “I am so excited to get my letter! I wonder what was going on in my mind and how I thought then, where I would be now.” These students are reflecting and thinking about their lives throughout their high school career; exactly what the teachers wanted. It is truly a gift for these students to have the chance to look back at how they thought and wondered about their lives four years ago. The language arts teachers at Abbott Middle School are committed to continuing the tradition and creating this magical experience for every student in their 8th grade classes.