NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Not many students write to the president of the United States, and even fewer hear back from him. New Rochelle High School senior Alyssa Purrier is delighted to be in both groups.
It was a regular October day in Carol Donnelly's computer apps class for grades 10 through 12, and students were learning how to use the Microsoft Office Suite and write a business letter.
Some students wanted to write to a real person. Donnelly thought it was a good idea that would make them excited about the class. She suggested writing to a famous person.
Purrier picked President Barack Obama. Her letter, and those written by other students to notable people, were mailed in October.
"I really admire you!" Purrier wrote in her letter to Obama. "The fact that you are the first African-American President really inspires me. It lets me know that anything is possible, and anyone can do anything as long as they believe they can, and they put their minds to it. You have overcome many obstacles and many people treating you unfairly and trying to bring you down but you did not let it stop you. Thank you for being a great President!"
Weeks and months went by, and then in mid-January, Purrier was called down to her house office to pick up the letter. It was from President Obama.
"Being President has been one of the greatest privileges of my life, and while my term is coming to an end, that doesn't mean I'll stop fighting to make sure doors of opportunity are wide open for you and your generation," wrote Obama. "That's a promise I will never stop working to keep. And once I leave the White House, I'll be counting on young people like you to step up and get involved--because we all share a lasting responsibility to bring about real and meaningful change that will make our nation stronger."
Purrier was extremely excited to get the letter. So were all the students.
"Learning to compose a business letter is an important skill that students will use throughout their lives," said Donnelly. "Students will never forget the experience of hearing back from the famous person they wrote to."