Mail received by students in the third-grade class at St. James Catholic School in La Crescenta has a distinctly international flair. Cards and letters are postmarked from Malaysia, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates.
But as exotic as the locations are, what most fascinates the students are the men and women who author them. Five months into a pen-pal project with United States sailors stationed on the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, students are enhancing their writing skills while also getting to know members of the Armed Services.
“I don’t know if it is doing more for them or for us,” said third-grade teacher Teresa Denton. “The letters tell [the students] how much they appreciate it. They take the time in the letters to talk to these kids on their level.”
To get the letter exchange off the ground, Denton turned to her nephew, 30-year-old Lt. Scott Long, currently deployed with the Vinson in the Persian Gulf. He recruited 10 colleagues with a variety of jobs, including pilots and communications experts.