ITMS seventh grade teacher Lori Scarpa Von Diezelski felt inspired to teach her students to write letters to benefit soldiers in her son's company.
During a time when students are far more familiar with receiving mail in their inboxes rather than in their mailboxes, an Indian Trails Middle School teacher introduced her seventh-graders to handwritten letters — many of them for the first time — while benefiting the soldiers in her son’s U.S. Army Delta Company 31st at One Station Unit Training in Missouri, which includes Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training.
“When I said, ‘We’re going to write a letter,’ most of them pulled out their computer, which was pretty funny,” said ITMS teacher Lori Scarpa Von Diezelski. “So, I had to say, ‘No, we’re writing on paper.’”
Her 21-year-old son, Nicholas Scarpa, attended ITMS years ago before graduating from Matanzas High School and then completing training with the U.S. Army last week. While reading letters from her son during his time in training, Scarpa Von Diezelski noticed that Nicholas said many of his fellow soldiers didn’t receive much or any mail. This sparked the idea to match up each of her students with a solider pen pal.
“We decided it would be a great way to connect some authentic writing activities, and the kids jumped on it,” she said.
Two of her classes have written a total of 55 letters so far, and some have received mail in return from their designated soldiers.
“The face that these kids had when they actually got their letter: it was like Christmas morning for some of the kids,” Scarpa Von Diezelski said. “They had never ever gotten a letter.”
Nicholas Scarpa visited his mother’s classroom on Wednesday, Oct. 4, to thank the students for their thoughtful notes.
Students perked up to ask Nicholas questions about what it’s like to be in the military, including how quickly he can get his uniform on: two minutes or less; and how MRE (Meal Ready-to-Eat) food tastes: not good.
After going around to visit the curious students, Nicholas left them with one piece of advice: “Try your best at anything you do.”