Letters to America’s next President voice students’ concerns

Devon Fitzgerald

The 2008 presidential election had a record number of young voters; however, students in Mr. Tom Backen and Ms. Maura Brew’s Creative Writing classes did much more than just vote.

Before the next president was even chosen, the classes were assigned to write a persuasive letter, yet it was not just anyone they were writing to; the letter would be addressed to the future president of the United States.

Students wrote about a variety of issues, which they hoped the next president would act on. Global warming, gas prices, war, and the economy were the most popular, with extinction and pollution being the least common, as those topics do not directly affect the class.

Senior Nicole Guerin chose to write about “education and how the economy will affect us and our financesfor college, because that will actually affect me,” she said.

Political views did not influence the letters as each started with “Dear Mr. President” and had to be submitted by October 30. “[This project] was to get students to voice their concerns, to get involved writing something persuasive,” said Mr. Backen.

Mr. Backen found out about the assignment through the Minnesota Writing Project and he instantly liked it as “it fit into creative writing and it shows the serious concerns people in this generation are interested in,” he said.

All of the letters were turned into letters2president.org, a Web site featuring thousands of letters from over 200 middle and high schools across the country. Anyone interested in reading the letters can simply log onto the Web site, then type in either “Maura Brew” or “Thomas Backen,” depending on which class they’re looking for.

While the teachers are doubtful the president will actually reply to the nearly 7,000 letters, Guerin would enjoy it. “It’d be interesting if he responded back,” she said.

Ultimately, the project was a success with over nearly 40 students submitting their letters.