Worthington seniors get a letter from their eighth-grade selves

The graduating seniors at Worthington High School are getting an important letter — from themselves.

The Worthington Daily Globe reports it’s the genius of Paula Stock, an eighth-grade Language Arts teacher, who has her middle-school kids write a letter to themselves.

“I tell them they can set goals for ninth grade or for high school in general,” she tells the Globe. “Even life goals. They can write whatever they want, really, I just promise them two things — one, for sure I will provide an envelope and stamp, and two, I will never read it.”

“I can tell by the looks on their faces that some students are excited about it and some aren’t. Some write maybe one paragraph, and some write five to six pages and require an extra stamp. Some even add extra things, like a picture of themselves or a dollar. It’s all their ideas.”

Stock never reads the letters. Instead she saves them. And when the kids graduate years later, she mails them to them.

Of the 150 or so letters she’s mailed out in the last two years, only a couple have been returned.

“I think Mrs. Stock’s idea was a great one, and I’m happy to see it continuing,” said Quinn Bents, who received her letter just a few days ago. “Receiving the letter I wrote to myself in eighth grade was really neat; I had completely forgotten I had written it, so I was surprised when it came.

“So many memories that had faded from my mind were brought back, and it also helped me to realize how much I’d grown as a person in just four short years,” Bents continued. “Reading that letter made me reminisce about old times, but receiving it in the midst of graduation makes me excited for the times to come.”

Fellow classmate Paige Stewart also received her eighth-grade letter recently. It was hard for her to believe that the four years had passed so quickly.

“It’s so crazy that it was actually my turn to receive my letter,” Stewart said. “It doesn’t seem like it’s been that long since eighth grade. It was funny to look back on the advice I gave myself and the best part is, it sounds exactly like something I’d say to an incoming freshman today.

“Reading my letter brought back a lot of memories of my past educational career. It made me realize how lucky I am to have had the opportunities and experiences that I did.”