Graduating Poland seniors receive letter from their 2nd grade selves

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This year, the retired Mrs. Watts also included a letter from herself to encourage the Class of 2020

POLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – For the last 22 years of her 38-year career, Linda Watts — a retired Poland teacher — required her second graders to write letters to themselves. She would mail them to the students when they graduated high school. This year’s graduating class received them a couple of weeks ago, along with a special letter from Mrs. Watts.

Mrs. Watts reads letter she wrote to Poland’s Class of 2020

Mike Cougras and Katie Masucci, both Poland seniors, read their letters from second grade Thursday afternoon. They wrote about their interests and what was going on in the world at the time.

There are still three letters that need to be sent.

“I read about this idea somewhere, it’s not my own idea,” Watts said.

She thought it would be fun to try with her young students.

“Let them write to themselves and see what happened 10 years later,” Watts said.

She laid out a three-paragraph format. First, the students wrote about themselves.

“What they like to do, what their bedroom looks like, what pets they have.”

Then they write about their futures, asking their future selves questions, like if they’ve ever been kissed.

Watts had every student end their letter with this sentence: “I hope you’re not drinking alcohol, smoking or taking drugs.”

When Cougras’ letter arrived, it had been addressed by his mother. Inside, she wrote a note — “Mommy, daddy and Connie love you forever.”

His mother died the next year.

“I thought that was really nice because it’s something real special to me,” Cougras said.

Masucci will major in graphic design.

“I think it was just interesting how things have changed,” she said. “Obviously, now there’s the coronavirus and back then, it was the oil spill.”

With her voice occasionally breaking, Watts read to us the letter she included.

It’s something she’s never done before but given what the Class of 2020 experienced, she thought it was needed.

Watts estimated she has sent out 550 letters.

In case they moved, she asked for back-up addresses. She’s only had four letters in all those years of students that she wasn’t able to send.

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