Kaneah King and Destiny Mendoza, both 8 years old, have been friends since September, although they did not meet until recently.
Kaneah is a Winding Waters K-8 second-grader. Destiny is in second grade at Explorer K-8. Their teachers, Winding Waters' Jo Maher and Explorer's Jessica Woods, had their students write to each other as pen pals during the school year.
"We do it because this is a meaningful way to show children that writing is important," Maher said. "They learn friendly letter writing that's part of second-grade's standards."
Said Woods: "They get to practice their writing skills without even knowing it."
The children met each other at Explorer on May 21. Last year, Explorer's second-grade students went to Winding Waters after writing to each other during the school year.
When the Winging Waters children got off the bus, they lined up before meeting their pals. Each child had written a description of himself or herself, and those were given to their pals. They had to find each other using that information.
Shy at first, the children became more familiar with each other as they did activities together in a classroom. They helped each other fill out sheets asking such things as numbers of siblings; favorite books, foods, movies and songs; and what places they would like to visit.
After the activities came a school tour, lunch, ice cream and the playground.
Explorer's Lillian Conley and Winding Waters' Teniyah Derival seemed to get along just fine. Lillian said she was "happy" to meet Teniyah.
"She is cute and wise," Lillian said.
Teniyah seemed equally pleased with Lillian.
"She's kind and funny," Teniyah said.
The girls said they would like to continue corresponding.
Jessica Woods' Explorer children who welcomed the Winding Waters students to their school were: Lillian Conley, Jomar Correa, Nalani Puckett, Alyssa Hummon-Osborn, Nicholas Kern, Karla Malave, Destiny Mendoza, Zoe Miller, Eduardo Rangel, Mia Reynaldo, Kelvin Riquene, Jose Christian Sanchez, Aiden Stuber, Damon Tribert, Anthony Weiss and Tavionn Williams.
Jo Maher's Winding Waters students who traveled to Explorer were: Corbin Blevins, Justin Boyle, Landon Byington, Teniyah Derival, Richard Engley, Nikolas Essig, Vincenza Fallon, Trinity Garrison, Andrew Herrin, Georgia Johns, Kaneah King, Joseph Pace, Kyle Parker, Adriana Rodriguez, Trinity Street and Breanna Strickland.