Writing unites students, firefighters - Tucson Local Media: News

Writing unites students, firefighters

Class lessons result in new pen-pal program

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Posted: Wednesday, November 9, 2011 4:00 am

Writing can be a tough skill to master, but thanks to members of the Golder Ranch Fire District students at Copper Creek Elementary are excited to take on the challenge.

About 25 students between first and fifth grades have been struggling with writing, and representatives from the school started searching for solutions.

That solution came about by having the students write to public servants as part of a pen-pal program.

Around Sept. 11, the students wrote letters to members of the Golder Ranch Fire District, Catalina Station 370.

Chris Selger, an occupational therapist, who contracts with the Amphitheater School District, said she wanted to make writing fun by doing something with which the students would relate.

The first round of letters focused on thanking the firefighters for their service, and about honor.

Those students enjoyed the assignment so much, and the firefighters loved receiving the letters, that the project is expanding.

The firefighters will now be pen pals with the students throughout the remainder of the school year. Last week they spent time getting acquainted during a pizza party.

Students were excited when firefighters passed out responses from the last set of letters. Cards and stickers brought smiles to all the students’ faces as they questioned the six firefighters on everything from their uniform, to what they have to do to become a firefighter.

Josh Hurguy, the community relations manager for the Golder Ranch Fire District, said the firefighters are more than happy to help.

“Improving writing is extremely important,” said Hurguy. “The pen-pal system is a great way to deliver that message. It pushes these students to write, and when I talked to our firefighters about it, they were excited. Their only requirement was that they meet these students in person.”

Firefighter Scott Rob told the students, “When we got your letters we thought they were so awesome that we wanted to write you and thank you.”

Firefighter, Nate Mitchell, said community outreach with children is a major priority for the department, and having a pen-pal system will expand on that.

“It’s nice that the kids can reach out and have a connection with the public servants they see,” he said. “Something like this is just another layer to reach our community.”

Selger said besides letters, by the end of the year, the students will write a full report on one aspect of being a firefighter.

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