NHS Students Take on the Pen Pal Pilot Program


Elizabeth Jung

Elizabeth Jung ’18 starts to write a letter to her pen pal.

With the goal of forging closer bonds with our local Bronx community, the Bronx Science National Honor Society is launching Project Pen Pal, a program that has NHS members become pen pals with middle school students from two local Bronx elementary schools.

Project Pen Pal was started when NHS Vice President Ilana Duchan ’18 took the initiative to collaborate with local Bronx schools, so that Bronx Science students can serve as role models while having another means to earn NHS service credits. Working with the eager administrators of  PS 95 and PS/MS 280, they were able to gauge the interests of their middle school students to participate in letter exchanges. With both schools being within a one-mile radius, the NHS believes that the initiative would be a great opportunity to connect Bronx Science with younger peers in the Bronx Community.

Although the program was started on a small scale pilot basis, for NHS members who lack the necessary credits for membership to be given a chance to accrue the missing credits, the project has turned out to be something more meaningful. “I think it will be nice to see what impact that I can make on a younger student’s life,” said Minna Au ’18. Only having sent one round of hand-written letters to their pen pals, the seniors are hopeful of this initiative, and looking forward to their responses. In the letters, the pen pals talk about school, get to know each other, and share the great things about being a Bronx Science student. “It’s a nice way to pass down knowledge and advice to younger students in order to prepare them for the future,” said Elizabeth Jung ’18.

“It’s a nice way to pass down knowledge and advice to younger students in order to prepare them for the future,” said Elizabeth Jung ’18.

Besides sharing their day-to-day experiences at school, our NHS students are looking forward to forging strong relationships, so that they can serve as role models for the younger students. “Our goal for this program is to promote practical writing skills in young students, with the added benefit of putting these children in contact with high-achieving high school students who can become their writing buddies and role models,” said Ilana Duchan ’18, Vice President of NHS.

Of the ten members taking part in this initiative, some are also doing it to make friends with younger kids and have a little fun during their senior year. “I hope that she’s nice, and I hope we become friends,” said Gene Lam ’18. Others are in the program to guide them. “I think it’s very important for middle schoolers to get a glimpse of the workload of a high schooler. In this way, they will be better prepared for the future,” said Winnie Chu ’18.

Based on the success of this year’s program, NHS Vice president Ilana Duchan is adamant in expanding the initiative to all NHS members in the future.

The pen pals are hoping to meet each other for the first time in Spring 2018.