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NGA connects with local students through pen and paper

By Brittani Beverly, NGA Office of Corporate Communications

Imagine getting to know someone only through the words they write on a sheet of notebook paper.

Throughout this school year, 18 National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency employees had the opportunity to participate in the agency’s Partners in Education pen pal program, communicating with students throughout the school year.

After spending the year communicating solely via letters with students at Saratoga Elementary School, in Springfield, Virginia, NGA’s PIE volunteers met their pen pals June 18.

“The students have enjoyed exchanging letters with their pen pals,” said Hadley Payne, second grade teacher at Saratoga Elementary School. “Learning how to compose a letter and getting to know someone with only the exchange of their words has been a real area of growth for them. They get really excited when they see me carrying the big manila envelope with their pen pal letters inside.”

While the PIE program aims to educate and interact with students in the communities surrounding NGA’s Springfield, Virginia, headquarters and its west campus in St. Louis, Missouri, the pen pal program has also allowed students and volunteers to have an ongoing dialogue, assisting in students’ reading and comprehension.

NGA Historian Gary Weir, Ph.D., participated in the pen pal program to give students an opportunity to improve their vocabulary and syntax. Weir also said of the program, “I enjoyed it because it keeps me in contact with young people—their energy and their interests.”

Photo Credit: Tony Boone, NGA Office of Corporate Communications