Osborn Hill's postal service delivers more than fun
Updated 6:34 am, Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Osborn Hill School students put pencil to paper this month, writing letters to classmates and their families that were delivered via the school's very own post office.
"I've only written seven, well, eight, no 10 letters," said first-grader Sam Frank as he staffed the post office on a recent Monday morning. "I didn't stamp some of them because I mailed those to my mom and dad."
Sam and classmate Finn Hoey eagerly watched for customers at the start of the school day. "We have more people coming," Finn said, excitedly as some older students made their way down the hall to buy some stamps.
Another anticipated sale led to disappointment as the teacher made a right turn into a classroom, telling the duo, "No stamps, sorry."
"What is wrong with these people?" an exasperated Finn said.
The "stamps" -- different color circular stickers -- sold for penny each, and there was a limit of 10 stamps per purchase. The post office opened at the start of each school day. In the afternoon, the first-graders would make the rounds of the mail boxes posted throughout the school and collect the mail. Then they'd have to cancel each envelope and sort them out for delivery to the various classrooms located on Main Street, Upper Avenue, Lower Avenue and Way Out Way.
Cancelling the letters, Sam said, was his favorite job.
"They're learning responsibility," said first-grade teacher Amy Selter. "And a big part of what they're learning is writing letters, learning the proper form and addressing envelopes.
Letter writing might be a lost art for a younger generation raised on emails and text messages. "They love it," Selter said of traditional letter writing. "And the more they practice, the better they become."
First-grade teacher Ellen Sigmund said the school has been holding the March post office for many years now. "At least eight or so," she said, and recalled running into some middle school students who had fond memories of the Osborn Hill post office.
"It's winding down now, but the first two weeks there were hundreds of letters," Sigmund said. "Parents write to the children, reading buddies write to each other. It really integrates quite a lot of the curriculum -- reading, writing, math."
The money raised by the sale of the stamps is donated, she said. Last year, they gave over $100 to the St. Baldrick's foundation, which raises money for a children's cancer cure, although no decision has been made on what charity will receive this year's proceeds, Sigmund said.