One person is nine years old and the other is 17. One is from Vanderhoof and the other Fort St. James.
At first glance one would think that there is no chance of these two meeting.
Furthermore, it would be hard to see a reason for them to meet. However, what emerged when they did meet was a beautiful thing.
It all started when Andrew Vogelsang and Gretchen Vogelsang, two teachers from different towns decided to have their two classes pen pal with each other.
Andrew’s Grade 4 class from Sinkut View Elementary Schools in Vanderhoof and Gretchen’s Grade 11 English class from Fort St. James Secondary School wrote back and forth to each other a few times.
Each Grade 4 student was paired up with a Grade 11 and they discussed a variety of things from hunting, sports, art, school, family in their letters.
What amazed both Andrew and Gretchen was the relationship that was forming between the students.
What started as an academic exercise was becoming something more. It was then that the teachers decided to have the class meet.
On Monday Jan. 16, the Grade 4 class loaded on the bus and headed to FSJSS to meet their buddies. When we got there we were greeted and the two classes met.
What amazed Gretchen and Andrew was the fact that there was engagement on both sides with a Grade 11 and a Grade 4 really talking to each other.
They were so impressed with the empathy and kindness the grade 11 students showed to the Grade 4 students.
They were equally impressed with the Grade 4 students being outgoing and engaging while not shying away from what was a possible stressful situation.
Both teachers agree that making connections between these two communities is a great thing.
It allows for these students to see a real face from a town they live so close to but may not know very well. It puts human faces past possible perceptions and stereotypes.