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Connecting Worlds: A Pen Pal Journey Between Deering and Brooklyn Technical High School Students

Deering & Brooklyn Tech students unite as pen pals, guided by Ms. Callaghan & Ms. Hogan. An exchange of letters and photos celebrates diversity and shared humanity. A journey of personal growth awaits between Portland, Maine, and Brooklyn, New York.

Last week,  Ms. Molly Callaghan and Ms. Kathryn Hogan, our English teachers guided our multilingual students at Deering, to new friends—high schoolers from Brooklyn Technical School in New York. They invited their class to become pen pals with the students from Brooklyn. Throughout this semester, the students will engage in an exchange of correspondence, gaining insight into each other's lives. It provides a platform to share differences, learn from one another, and celebrate commonalities. The following paragraphs provide glimpses into the content of these pen pal exchanges, complemented by a selection of photos capturing our students responding to their new friends in Brooklyn.

The pen pal letter from Brooklyn Technical School begins with, "I'm a junior at Brooklyn Technical High School in Brooklyn, NY. I take a bus, train, and a ferry to get to school. The commute is over an hour long! I like my school, so I don't mind the commute. There are over 6,000 students at my school, and there are 9 floors."

Another student writes to their pen pal, "I have 2 older brothers and a younger sister, as well as my dad, stepmom, and our dog. What's your family like? Do you have any siblings and/or pets?"

In another letter from a Brooklyn student, they express, "Where are you from? What's your first language? What's it like learning English for the first time? I was born in New York City, but my family is from all over. My mom was born in the Netherlands, but her family is both Dutch and Indonesian. My dad's family is from Italy, and my stepmom was born in Chile! Because of her, I also speak Spanish in addition to English. I'm also learning French in school."

A different student reaches out to another with, "Hi! How are you doing? … I'm 16 years old. How is Maine? Are there any parts of America that are different from where you're from that are surprising? Is learning English going well? I'm sure you're really smart and very good at it. How's your school? I hope you have good lunches there because sometimes school lunch can be rough."

This pen pal initiative is more than just an academic exercise—it is a celebration of shared humanity and an opportunity for our students to grow as individuals. We eagerly anticipate the unfolding of this correspondence and look forward to the continued exchange of thoughts, stories, and newfound friendships between our students in Portland, Maine, and in Brooklyn, New York.