Who wouldn’t like the chance to steer our highest elected official in the right direction for the United States? For two Meadow Ridge Elementary students, words to the country’s new president are to become a page in history. All three fifth-grade classes at Meadow Ridge took part in a nation-wide project by kidthing, Connecting Kids Project in partnership with the National Education Association. Students sent letters to President Obama expressing their thoughts and hopes for the future. From over 4,500 submissions, 150 were to be chosen to be published in a book.
With such odds, students set to their task, but had no guarantee any of the Rockford letters would make the cut.
Teachers Christine Stall and Mr. Frasier were surprised when their students Zach Julien and Kameron Ford came in to school with letters of congratulations. Their letters were among the few chosen by kidthing to be included in the publication, available free on-line, as well as in a limited print edition to be presented to President Obama at the White House.
“It’s a once-in-a lifetime thing,” said Stall. “It is important for kids to see that writing is important outside of completing assignments and turning them in to their teachers.”
“I think it was neat for kids this age to see a real world lesson come from this project,” said Frasier, who said he has never written a letter to the president himself.
The winning words from Zach, prefaced by “I have some ideas for you to think about,” go on to ask for more jobs for Michigan. He also tells the president to consider finding ways to use garbage to create energy, an original idea he came up with after a school lesson on electricity. Zach said he believes the hardest job the president faces is trying to figure out how much money to spend and where it should go.
Kameron was looking to make a visual statement. He spent several days perfecting a flag-themed letter, experimenting with the number of lines and deciding on 13 in honor of the 13 colonies. Brief and to the point, Kameron’s letter said he believes Barack Obama will be the best president ever. He said he thinks the hardest part of the president’s job is deciding what to sign into law.
As Rockford watches to see what Capital Hill has in store for the country, we can hope the ideas of our youngsters will offer a little guidance. As Zach wrote, “So you know, I am just a kid, but I am the next generation and my ideas might work, so think about it.”
Ironically, in Meadow Ridge’s presidential election John McCain was the victor, as he also was in the City of Rockford.