The week after a play is very busy for third graders working at The Bright Post. That’s because all the students in the school write congratulatory letters to the students in the grade that just performed.
Third graders, who serve various roles within the school’s own post office, pick up the letters from each classroom, sort them and check for correct addresses, and then deliver them to the receiving classrooms. Writing to the actors is a time-honored tradition at Bright because each grade performs a play, and now so has the post office become a much-loved tradition.
The Bright Post was started in 2011 by parent and trustee Julie Guerry, who oversaw the student workers through 2017. Librarian Elizabeth Oakes now works with the third graders each morning. Third grade classes take turns managing the post office each trimester.
Third graders apply for jobs at The Bright Post, including postmaster, pick up carriers, nixie clerks, canceller/facer, sorters and delivery carriers. In their applications to the teacher, students describe why they want a certain job. Ms. Oakes said students who want to be the deliverers often say they “are very responsible and won’t disturb classes,” while nixie clerk applicants say they “like grammar and checking work.”
Addressing an envelope is an important part of the post office experience. Each classroom has an address and mailbox. After letters are collected or dropped in the post office mail slot, the post office workers make sure each address is correct. Writing letters also teaches students the correct way to address letters and what to include in a letter. Third graders learn responsibility and earn greater independence while carrying out their jobs.
The nixie clerks working one morning said they enjoy the work of the post office. “I like the organizing,” said Reese Finlay as she and other clerks sorted through piles of letters. “I got a letter from my sister,” said Liliana Coleman, adding, “We’re going to be really busy” next week after the second grade play. After sorting, the clerks were passing along the letters to Noah Mouw, who was stamping each approved letter. “I will write to my brother,” Noah said. “He always writes to me.”