This spring a Virden Junior High class took on a unique project to write letters to seniors in Virden. Under COVID-19 safety measures visiting ground to a halt for seniors in residences, where quarantines were put into effect for vulnerable seniors. So, a letter from a young person was a timely and meaningful way to visit.
VJH Gr. 6 teacher Tara Pitz, explained the process: “During remote learning, the Gr. 6 class at the Virden Junior High School wrote letters at the beginning of the pandemic to residents at the Sherwood, Westman and Princess Lodge.”
Ever since mid-March, when school classes were suspended, teachers and students have adapted to a remote learning model.
Pitz says the letter-writing was a hit with the kids. “They loved the assignment and said it was their favorite thing to do.”
The students told the residents that they are cared for and in their own words wrote messages, such as: "I just want to let you know that all of us are thinking about you. I also want you to know that you are loved by many people during this time and always. Ps: Wash your hands!" and "Everything will be okay and everyone is in this together! The grass will grow and the flowers will bloom!"
Students also asked the seniors about their lives growing up, favorite memories and about their own school days. They asked what messages their senior pen pal might have for them as students.
The youth told the seniors all about their sports, and talked about choir, musicals, trips and other activities they enjoy. They also told them about remote learning from home.
One of the nursing homes read a letter-a-day to the residents and then posted each one on a bulletin board for them to look back at.
Residents from Princess Lodge sent handwritten letters back to the students in response.
“As I picked up the package from Princess Lodge, I was so proud and honoured to hold those handwritten letters,” said Pitz. “Each one shared memories and stories. The handwriting of the residents was so precious and some had added special stickers to the bottoms of the letters.”
Some of the residents knew the students who wrote to them, and spoke of their relatives.
Correspondence from the seniors has come back to the school class and as each student comes to school for their one-on-one assessments, they will receive the return letters from the senior.