Shaker Students Meet Retirement Community Pen Pals for the First Time

How’s this for heartwarming? Tuesday, December 12th marked the sixth year of Shaker High School’s letter exchange program through Dr. James Bell’s English class. 23 students met their pen pals at Avila Retirement Community for an enriching afternoon. The letter exchange program began in September, but this was the first time that the students and pen pals met face to face. The students and pen pals shared conversation over lunch before parting ways. 

“The letter-writing correspondence gives my students the authentic experience of using writing to create and maintain a personal relationship.  Through writing, the students will get to know, and allow themselves to be known by, some fantastic residents at Avila, people willing to share their very different life experiences and perspectives.  The connections that develop are warm and real, and the lunch in December is a wonderful setting in which to deepen the relationships,” said Dr. Bell. Avila CEO Kathleen A. Richards is also thrilled to be part of the program. “There is nothing quite like getting a letter in the mail. That special feeling unfolding that paper and reading the words of someone thinking about you goes way beyond texts and emails. Our residents are active teachers – some worked in classrooms while others are attorneys, writers, business owners, and more. This is a wonderful opportunity to pass down their knowledge and experiences to the next generation. We are proud to partner with Shaker High School and hope that the letters flow back and forth for years to come.”