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Hero and Project Description: 

Smith’s and Epstein’s innovative teaching idea, “Pen Pal Program,” focuses on bringing together students from rural and urban locations through a series of critical topics throughout the year. The new pen pals will be focus on writing about their personal feelings, thoughts and recognized stereotypes with the hope that these differences will be celebrated and embraced empathetically. Students involved in the project will be encouraged to discuss important issues while improving their writing, typing, social, and current event skills. With the Voya grant, Smith and Epstein will eventually be able to permit the students to travel to meet in person. This program provides an exciting opportunity to witness the conversational exchanges between students of different backgrounds and beliefs in addition to having them understand how to foster mutual respect and a deeper understanding of current issues.

Unsung Hero City: 
Unsung Hero State: 
Unsung Hero School: 
Ozark Junior High School
Unsung Hero Year: 
2 018
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