Over 900 students from more than 17 different countries participated in the Giving Thanks Photography & Essay contest on PenPal Schools. Students from the United States, Mexico, Thailand, and Lithuania shared photographs and wrote essays about the people, places, and things that they are most grateful for. From the 900 contest participants, seven students were selected as contest winners!
Photography & Essay Contest Winners
Ivana is a ninth grade student from Mexico. Ivana shared gratitude for her parents, friends, and siblings in a photo essay. Ivana explained that when she won the contest she felt surprised and happy. She explained that learning with students from around the world is important because it can help you “know more about other people's opinions.” One day, Ivana hopes to travel to England where she can practice British English.
Amelia, a 5th grade student from the United States, wrote her winning essay about her mom. Amelia explains that she is grateful for her mom because her mom is caring, supportive, helpful, and always knows how to cheer her up. When Amelia learned that she was a contest winner she felt “proud of myself. It boosts my courage to do more things and try hard.” If Amelia could travel anywhere in the world, she would visit Poland to learn about her family heritage.
Olivia, a fifth grade student from the United States, shared gratitude for her friends in her winning photo essay. Olivia explained that her friends have helped her to feel happy and supported. Olivia explained that her friends “act like the siblings I never had!” If Olivia had the chance to explore anywhere in the world, she would learn more about Japan because, “I love their culture, history, and food." Olivia’s advice for students who are participating in a PenPal project for the first time? “Have fun, be brave, have courage, learn a lot, and do your best!”
Sadie, a fifth grade student from the United States, also shared gratitude for her family members in a photo essay. Sadie chose to highlight her sister, her cousin, her grandparents, and her parents. In her project, Sadie explains how smart, caring, and fun people in her life have helped her to create many wonderful memories. When she isn't studying at school and working on her creative writing, Sadie plays field hockey, karate and lacrosse.
Devon, a fifth grade student from the United States, wrote her essay about her brothers Luke and Reid. In addition to being a talented writer, Devon's favorite subject is mathematics. She explained to the PenPal Schools team that, "I like learning new things everyday!" When Devon found out that she was a PenPal Star she explained that, “I was so happy and didn’t think I was going to win.” If she could travel anywhere in the world, Devon would go to Puerto Rico where she would like to learn about the country's amazing animals.
PenPal Stars Olivia, Devon, and Sadie all come from the same classroom so we decided to ask their teacher, Ms. Bushey, to share why global connections are important for her students. Ms. Bushey explained, “There's so many things I love about making global connections! First and foremost is that the connection to students all around the world help my students learn now only how they're different, but also what they have in common. And both are worth celebrating!”
Thanks to Ms. Bushey, and all of the other educators who made the Giving Thanks Photography and Essay contest such a wonderful success!
Nominate a PenPal Star
While our team is incredibly grateful to the 900 students who shared their stories and experiences in this contest, we know that there are many PenPal stars working hard in other PenPal Schools topics.
Is there a PenPal Star in your classroom? Click here to nominate one of your students to be a featured PenPal Star!