Residents at Fredonia Place and third-grade students at Northern Chautauqua Catholic School have created a special bond.
Beginning after Christmas, the residents and students became penpals. Teacher Amanda Wachter thought a good way to teach about writing friendly letters was to write letters to residents. The students in Wachter's class were matched up with a resident and have been corresponding weekly.
According to Wachter, "The students learned the five parts of a friendly letter and practiced their writing. Some of them would tell me about the letters they received. They were so excited."
OBSERVER Photo by Diane R. Chodan
Fred Gullo, a third-grader at Northern Chautauqua Catholic School, reads to his penpal Dick Miga at Fredonia Place. Students and residents have been corresponding since after Christmas break.
Brittany Hawkins, Activity Director at Fredonia Place, said, "The residents look forward to writing letters."
Recently the penpals met at Fredonia Place. The class quietly filed into the activity room. In addition to the penpals other residents were present. While some students were a little shy, the residents helped to put them at ease.
Dick Miga, a former science teacher and school administrator, obviously enjoyed the children. He was wearing a big smile and joked with the students as he made his way to meet his penpal Fred Gullo.
The students brought stories they had written and read them to the residents.
Resident Evelyn Kuzdale said, "What a wonderful idea! I am impressed with how well he (Marc Patterson) reads."
An ice cream social was held afterward. Residents and students were offered vanilla or chocolate ice cream and could choose chocolate sauce, sprinkles, and whipped cream.
Penpals Sal Favata and Jimmy Beehler discovered they had something in common. They both wanted chocolate ice cream, chocolate sauce, and sprinkles.
Jimmy, a student, spoke about his penpal. "He's nice. He liked writing."
Favata agreed that he liked to write to Jimmy. "It was a challenge," he said.
Favata hesitated about asking one question. "I wanted to ask if he had a girlfriend."
Jimmy answered, "Not yet."
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