Dear Mr. Kelsey

I have collected autographs for over 20 years. When I was in college I started writing to celebrities and asking them what they would tell a class of elementary school students. Over the years I have gotten over 200 letter and signed pictures to my students. I think that by these very busy people taking the time to share their thoughts with students, it shows the power of education. I hope you enjoy my collection

My Photo
Location: Washington, DC, United States

Smithsonian Air and Space Museum: Education Specialist for Digital Learning.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Happy New Year and a Bunch of New Letters

Over the winter break, I had a chance to send out a bunch of letters to people asking what they would tell kids. These letters have been rolling back in and I am constantly amazed at the generosity of people and the power of education. The group of letters I sent out this time had a decidedly historic twist. I always love the time right after I send out a big batch of letters because going to the mailbox gets so much more fun. Instead of the usual junk mail, bills, and the occasional magazine, I love opening the mailbox to find a letter with my handwriting for the address (I always send a self addressed stamped envelope) and occasionally there will even be a package. I hope you enjoy reading these letters as much as I have enjoyed receiving them.
The first letter I wanted to share is an amazing one. John F. Babcock was born in 1900! He was born in Canada and enlisted into the army at the age of 15. He is the last remaining Canadian World War I veteran. He is one hundred and seven years old! I wrote to him and didn’t know if I would get anything back. Within two weeks I got back a great letter that is shown below and a great picture of him holding an American Flag with a Canadian flag in the background. In his letter he says, “Dear Mr. Kelsey Love your country love your family and always be honest. Sincerely, JF Babcock born 7-23-1900” Staying with the military theme, I got a letter back from Charles Albury. He was the co-pilot on the airplane that dropped the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan. The plane was called Bockscar. Mr. Albury sent a great letter (the text is below) as well as two pictures that he signed. The first was a picture of the Bockscar logo and the other was a picture of his airplane. His letter said, “Dear Class: I was one of many who served our great country after being attacked. First of all I am an American who loves his country as many other in WWII. There is no country greater than ours. God Bless America CD Albury”

Another really cool military letter that I got was from Morris Jeppson, he was the weapons officer on the Enola Gay, the airplane that dropped the first Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. Mr. Jeppson sent a really great letter where he even mentions the city I live in, Liberty. He says, “Dear Mr. Kelsey, I admire you for teaching your students American history and I respect your students for thinking about American history. The name of your city, Liberty, is the key word – Liberty means freedom – freedom of individuals and freedom for your country. Look back at your history and look ahead to make certain that you preserve your freedoms and protect the US in a world that is threatening them. And enjoy your lives ahead. Morris Jeppson” Everyone that knows me that I love science. That is one of the reasons why I really like this next letter. I wrote to James Russell. His name is one that most people won’t know but almost everyone has used his invention. He is the inventor of the CD. He sent a great letter that talks about invention. It is really hard to read so the text follows.
Hi students and Mr. Kelsey,
If you are a scientist or inventor, you may be able to disver something , or invent something that will help millions of people over the world. That can be very satisfying.
To be a scientist or inventor, you must study as much science, math, and history as you can – and you will find that these subjects will become very interesting.
When I opened my mailbox last Thursday, I had several letters, a lot of bills, a magazine and a package. I couldn’t remember ordering anything, and then I saw the return address label. Patty Wagstaff is a stunt pilot. She sent me a CD, a signed folder/picture thing (shown below) and she sent an additional 20 more folders and stickers for my class. She signed her picture, “TO Mr. Kelsey’s Class! Follow the path that makes you happy and end up where you belong! Patty Wagstaff”


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