She read the aloud the letter with clear pronunciation, looking at her mom for help when she approached a word she couldn’t quite sound out.
“Dear student, thank you for writing,” said the nine-year-old. “Our environment and wildlife are among our most precious treasures ...”
In November 2013, the third grader at Corinth Elementary School wrote the President of the United States Barack Obama. Less than two months later, a large manila envelope returned from The White House.
The “dear student” letter was personally signed by the president. The letter detailed the country’s current environmental situation. It stated recycling and reusing paper, plastic, glass and aluminum, as well as turning off lights and unplugging appliances as things that could be done to help the environment.
A glossy 8x10 photo signed by the president was included.
“The signature was cool, because you could actually tell he signed it,” Tim said, pointing to a smudged mark on the end of Obama’s signature. “It’s definitely not a stamp.”
Information and a postcard about the first dog, Bo, was included, as well as a map of the rooms of The White House and a brochure about artwork hanging in The White House.
“I think we’re gonna have to go on vacation to D.C. now,” said Tim. “The girls want to see where the president lives.”
Early in the school year, Emma Kate’s teacher, Mrs. Hinton, asked each student to write a fake letter to the president about something they were concerned with. Even though Emma Kate was concerned about pollution and the environment, she had recently studied about “overfishing” in U.S. waters.
When asked, what is “overfishing”, Emma Kate quickly answered.
“When fisherman catch too much of one fish and it causes other fish to deplete in population,” the clever third grader said. “I’m most concerned about dolphins. If their population gets to low, it would mess up the entire ecosystem.”
Dolphins should have the same right to freedom as people, she said.
Soon Emma Kate decided to actually mail the letter to Washington.
“He’s the president,” she said. “If anyone can do something about this, he can.”
Not knowing an address to send the letter to, Emma Kate asked her dad.
“Everyone may think they know address of The White House, but it’s not 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,” Tim said, laughing. “The address where you can send mail is completely different.”
So, what’s next for Emma Kate?
“Currently I’m reading about how climate changes effect the environment,” she said. “We watched a video in class about the ice caps melting causing the ocean to change temperatures which will kill thousands of different species of fish.”
Reading is clearly young Emma Kate’s favorite past time.
“She loves to read,” Kelley said. “She checks out a different book every day.”
Flipping thought the pages of a book about ice caps melting she had just checked out, the aspiring environmentalist said, “If I had my choice I would spend all day in the library.”