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As part of a Psychology class, my students were required to write a letter to person who has made a difference in their lives. The letter also included a request to the person who received the letter to “Write it Forward” by sending a letter to another person.
As with many assignments, a teacher can never truly understand the impact an assignment may have. It was not until close to two months later that I realized for at least one student, the activity was a huge success.
The first letter was sent by the student on December 12, 2012. The student received the following letter, letter #7 was sent to the student from a complete stranger who received a Write it Forward Letter that began in Hanover, Massachusetts.
Here is the journey that began with one letter:
Letter #1 – Berkeley, California
Letter #2 – Berkley, California (within the same house)
Letter #3 – Piedmont, California
Letter #5 – Martinez, Callifornia
Letter #6 – Pleasant Hill, California
Letter #7 – Hanover, Massachusetts
Below is the letter the student received along with the history of the letters that have been sent”
Dear [student],
Although I don’t know you personally, that does not stop me from admiring you. I think what you are doing, getting us to think about those we admire, and more importantly to let others know that we do admire them and the things they do.
I commend you for doing this project (and hope you don’t have to take the final for your class.)
This was completely unexpected. The student added a little twist to his handout by including at the bottom of the sheet:
Thank you for your help. I am a senior at Hanover High School in Hanover, Massachusetts. This was an assignment of mine. My address is:
Address of student
The student will be sending out letter #8 to a person in Florida. Though we may never know where the activity will go from there, I do know that at least one student has learned what a difference one letter can make.

There are many variations of this activity that could be used with The Last Lecture and Grandparents’ Day.