JAMESTOWN – Jamestown Success Academy teacher, Michael Tuccio, has started a small but heartfelt movement – to thank healthcare workers through handwritten letters.
Tuccio, along with Persell Middle School teacher Annika Putney and some of her students, are writing notes of appreciation to heroes, both locally and nationally.
“The first week we were out of school, I needed something positive to do, some sort of project,” said Tuccio. “I kept seeing posts online of former students who are working as healthcare workers. I didn’t realize I knew so many. I thought, let’s get them some notes of appreciation. I posted online asking for addresses, as well as volunteers to help write. One of the first volunteers was a good friend, and one of the best teachers I know, Annika Putney.”
In addition to Putney, Tuccio also reached out to friends and colleagues who said they’d have students, or their own kids, help write letters. The group has already sent letters to Virginia and as far as Los Angeles.
“I just want these people to know how grateful we are for them,” said Tuccio. “If people need a project right now, send notes to healthcare workers, people in nursing homes, other essential workers like those in retail, those working at banks, garages, anyone. It’s going to make you feel better when you do something kind for someone else. We all need that right now.”
Putney was excited to help and thought it would be a great real-life lesson for her English Language Arts class. Letter writing and learning how to address an envelope are real-life skills that she could easily tie into ELA.
She had seven students from her ELA class write notes and letters: Kendall Hughes, Emily Maggio, Issy Becker, Jason Leenders, Olivia Beckerink, Blake Smith and Kiki Yates.
“I know letter writing has gone to the wayside for many, but I am a believer in good old fashioned handwritten notes and think they brighten people’s days,” said Putney. “I think that it really made students step back and think about how there are essential people, such as those in healthcare, who, despite what is happening in our world, have to ‘Get Up, Dress Up, Show Up…and Never Give Up! During this time they are so very important and we talked about how they would love to hear how appreciated they are.”
Tuccio and Putney’s class have heard back from some of the health workers they have sent letters to including an EMT at Monroe Ambulance who said her coworkers were very thankful for the beautiful cards and words.