Local kindergartners received a massive surprise when a major politician who resides in Washington, D.C., responded to their letters.
President Joe Biden himself penned a letter on May 26 to the Stroum Jewish Community Center (SJCC) Early Childhood School students, who put their notes in the mail to the White House around the time of Inauguration Day on Jan. 20.
A school blog post dated Jan. 21 reads that Kayla Schuman’s kindergarten class fully embraced the historic week and learned about the Inauguration.
Some of the students’ notes, which also feature drawings, wish the 46th commander-in-chief and Vice President Kamala Harris well in the White House and hope they can eliminate the coronavirus.
“Today, they received a response from President Biden, thanking them for their questions, reminding them to stay thoughtful and curious, and asking for their help to create positive change. We think our littlest Mercer Islanders are up to the task!” said Sara Schweid, SJCC communications manager.
In the letter, Biden said the United States faces many challenges and there is tough work ahead in setting aside people’s differences and uniting as a nation. Biden added that the youth has the power to impact the future for generations to come. He also told the students to study hard, keep challenging themselves and to be kind.
“I wish you the best in the years ahead and look forward to seeing where your futures take you,” he wrote.
The students and Schuman were thrilled to receive Biden’s letter and embraced his message to them.
“I was so excited that I wished I was home so I could tell my mom, my dad, my sister and my dog. I was so happy while we were reading it. He said even though we’re little, we can change things to make them good, even at our young ages,” said Emet, 6.
Added Lainie, 6: “I was very excited and I couldn’t really believe our letter could be on the news. It was really crazy. I didn’t (think) that would actually happen, but, here we are!”
Biden’s message of unity is crucial, said Schuman, who added that they also focus on empathy and compassion in their kindergarten classroom, just like Biden and Harris do in the White House and wherever their jobs take them nationally and worldwide.
“We are also learning that it’s okay for people to have different feelings about the same situation. When they hear the president telling them that what they are learning in kindergarten can make a difference, it encourages them to put these values into practice,” Schuman said.
Schuman tries to instill a growth mindset in her students, teaching them that lessons can be learned from each interaction with others and every experience placed in front of them on life’s journey.
“We also talk about being mindful of our how or words and actions affect the people in our lives. Before we speak, we should practice asking ourselves, ‘Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary?’” she said.
(A SJCC blog post about Biden’s letter reads: “Even the greatest of us make mistakes – the letter was addressed incorrectly when it arrived and has been updated with Ms. Schuman’s class information.”)