Send That Info, Florence


Madison Crumpton

This is a letter from one of the pen pals, Cesar, a student in Florence, South Carolina, sent to Bengal Beat reporter, Madison Crumpton (Photo Courtesy of Madison Crumpton).

In between essays about lustful witches from The Crucible and learning synonyms for endless vocabulary words, Brashier English 3 students were introduced to the old fashioned form of long distance communication- pen pals

“It is fun to get to know these people…,”  said sophomore Austin Cooper. 

BMC students are writing and receiving letters from students in Florence, South Carolina. The experience is set with the intent to interact and communicate with other students our age while practicing and expanding upon our writing skills. 

“I get to learn something about another person,” said sophomore Julia Sellars. 

Overall, it is generally agreeable that all students have enjoyed writing to fellow teenagers in Florence. But as always, there are students who do not appreciate this in-class experience or do not like the process of writing, sending, waiting, and receiving. 

“I find it very tedious that we have to wait for responses,” added Cooper. 

As expected, Brashier found a way to put some “ground rules” on this new and exciting experience for students. AKA… “The Catch”.

“I think this sucks. We should be able to have their Instagrams and talk to them. It takes so long to get our letters back,” added Sellars. 

Students are not allowed to communicate with their pen pals in any other form than the letters. This rule is much broader than it seems, covering many areas: no giving last names, no Instagram usernames, no dropping Snapchat usernames, no sharing emails, no tangible pictures in our letters, and especially no meeting their pen pals in person. 

“They don’t know their [pen pal’s] last name, so that keeps them from ‘stalking,’” said English 3 teacher Rosemary Abercrombie.

For some students, this is not a problem. They do not have the desire to meet or talk to the students from Florence outside of these letters. 

“I am perfectly fine with not meeting my pen pal. This is something I strictly want to keep in class, and not take outside of [the classroom],” Cooper told the Bengal Beat. 

However, for other students these ground rules are incomprehensible. Although it might not seem like it, these rules are for the students’ safety, not a punishment. The teachers are in agreement that this is a necessary precaution, and that it is even better for the students’ learning.

“I think it is necessary to have this limited form of communication because it helps them relate more, actually. It helps them find similarities and commonalities with each other. It is limited, but in the same way it is necessary for them to establish that commonality,” Abercrombie told the Bengal Beat.

Despite the few students who do not like writing and receiving these letters, every student can agree that this is something that they can learn from. Even if it is something as simple as writing a letter for the first time.

“I finally know how to write a letter and address an envelope,” said Cooper. 

Regardless of what students learned or how they felt about the pen pals, there is a common thread among all BMC letters- a newfound sense of learning, communicating, and blossoming friendships.

“I love doing this. It is worth the class time,” added Abercrombie.