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Dear Mr. President
Fifth graders at Crowell Elementary School pose with the letter and photo they received from President Barack Obama over the summer. Pictured are: Back row right to left: Miranda Navarrete, Kristin Wilson, Skylar Corona; front row: Chandni Patel, David Amaya, Matthew Fliflet and Deandre Jones. - photo by ANDREA GOODWIN / The Journal
Students in Kristin Wilson’s fourth grade class carefully followed the 2008 presidential elections. They watched the Presidential Inauguration as a class, and they discussed what they would like to see from their new president. They even wrote Barack Obama letters that offered suggestions on how he could improve the country.
They mailed the letters in January, and none of the students were sure if they would get a reply. Then spring semester ended, and their fourth grade year at Crowell Elementary School was over. They still had not received a letter back from President Obama.
“They would ask me if he was going to write back. I told them he would get back to us when he had time,” Wilson said.
The students started fifth grade on Aug. 18, no longer in the same class. The letters they sent to Obama were a distant memory. That is, until some of the students went by Wilson’s class to pay her a visit.  
Wilson said that she stopped all of her former students in the hall whenever she saw them.
“Come to my classroom and see what the president sent us,” Wilson told her students.
The now fifth-graders came by one by one to see the letter President Obama had written to them.
“He’s all the way in Washington, D.C. I didn’t expect him to write to Turlock,” said fifth-grader Matthew Fliflet.
Fliflet and his classmates were surprised to get a reply nearly seven months after they wrote to the new president.
“It was such a long time ago. I didn’t expect him to write back,” said Deandre Jones.
Wilson’s class made several suggestions in their letters about changes they would like to see. Some students suggested that the country hire more soldiers and police officers to keep them safe. Others wanted college to be more affordable to all students. Obama thanked them for their input and encouragement in his letter.
“I think it’s important that they know even kids are citizens and their voices are heard,” Wilson said.
To contact Andrea Goodwin, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2003.