McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

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Pen friends forever

Multilingual students have a new writing experience at MCHS
Eli Frommes
Brando Sanchez reads his letter from his pen pal in his English Lab for Multilinguals class on Nov. 2. Multilingual students work on their grammar and writing skills and connect to staff members throughout the school by sending pen pal style letters back and forth.

Multilingual students in the pen pal program received their letters today. The kids opened it with joy finding out that their pen pal has much more in common with them than they thought.

50 students are now taking part in letter writing with staff. The pen pal program connects staff and students through their letters.

Any staff member throughout all of MCHS is pitching in to talk to students with some having multiple pen pals. Throughout the course of the whole year, one letter is received per month for students in the English Lab class, which is a class that helps students who do not speak English and helps them learn the language by doing classroom activities.

New assistant director of multilingual education Kelsey Podgorski states, “This program is creating a connection between the student and the staff member.”

A few years ago in one of McHenry’s panorama surveys, it showed a need for quality time with teachers and their students.

Teacher at MCHS Kaley Freund said, “Students’ names would be filled out on a form and the students write down whatever is interesting to them.”

Other skills that students obtain through the program are that they become stronger writers, gain abilities to address “snail mail” envelopes. Snail mail is mail that is carried by the traditional postal delivery services.

A Voice For Educators of America describes a similar program for international pen pals on their website, “Students care more about spelling, grammar, and punctuation because they want to impress and make a good impression on their pen pals.”

Another benefit of the program is that students “ignite a curiosity for the world outside of what they know,” as described by A Voice For Educators of America.

The program may be extended in the future to other English classes and beyond due to its success.

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