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Building Community Across the School

The Grade 1s and some Senior School students have been pen pals, writing letters to each other
Through a special project, the Grade 1 classes and Mrs. Rebecca Nielson’s homeform and IB Individuals and Societies 9 students have been able to create a special bond. While the students can’t meet in person, they have been building a connection through writing letters to each other. 

“The Grade 1s have been telling us a little about their families, some of their favourite things, and in the last letter they wrote about their Unit of Inquiry, which is really cute,” said Miia Bekker ’22 who is pen pals with Lillian. 

In their letters, the Grade 1s asked their Senior School pals as questions—everything from what is their favourite colour to what is their birthstone. 
 
“I told Lillian about my science project that I have been doing in physics, and just trying to keep the conversation going,” said Miia. “It’s pretty fun and nice to come into homeform in the morning and see the cute letter with drawings on it. I know a lot more about the Grade 1s than I ever did. Otherwise, you can forget about them because you can’t see them every day.” 

Jack-Harris Bruce ’24 who joined GNS for the 2020/2021 school year, said being able to have these pen pals has helped him form a connection with the Junior School, which he wouldn’t necessarily have been able to do otherwise. 

“It’s been really fun to connect to someone I don’t know who is younger and I’m able to share the perspective of growing as a young mind and learning about everything for the first time,” he said. “As a new student I don’t know anyone from the Junior School…I think this has been a great way to continue the sense of community throughout a pandemic that limits it.” 

Jack was paired with Grade 1 student Jack and has learned lots of things about him—not just that they share a name. 

“I got a letter first of him introducing himself. He’s been telling me about his favourite hobbies and that he’s from Britain…he asked a lot of questions about what it’s like in the Senior School and what we are learning currently. He also asked what we know about his Unit of Inquiry,” he said. 

The Grade 1s like to include drawings in the letters, and some of the Senior School students like to do the same. 

“My pen pal is really creative,” said Jack. “Last time he drew light and because their Unit of Inquiry right now is about light. So, he drew lightning bolts, monsters, and got really creative.” 

The Grade 1s have been very excited on the mail days as they get to go outside and read their letters. They really like to share the new things they learned about their pen pals with each other. 

Milo ’32 has been learning a lot about his pen pal Aleem Carino ’24, including where he likes to travel and some of his favourite subjects in school. Milo said his favourite part of the letters was getting to see what kinds of things are happening at the Senior School.

“I also like to play sports,” Milo read from his letter. “I like to play tennis, soccer, football and basketball. I think it is cool that you want to be a scuba diver when you grow up. I want to be a doctor when I grow up. I also think it is cool you like to travel because I also really like travelling.” 

Kate ’32 is pen pals with Taylor Macdonald ’24 and through their letters, they have been learning a great deal about each other. Kate said she’s happy when she gets the letters and enjoys being able to write them. 

“When I grow up I want to be a civil rights lawyer or a teacher,” she read from her letter. “I have two black lab dogs. My favourite food would have to be salad and hamburgers…Did the Easter Bunny visit? I got a lot of chocolate and candy. Thank you for writing to me, did you go skiing?”

What a fun way to keep the connection strong between our students on the Beach Drive and the Pemberton Woods campuses. Hopefully, the pen pals will be able meet safely in-person sometime soon. 
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Glenlyon Norfolk School

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