When Abbott Middle School 8th grader Juan P. Cruz wrote a business-style letter to U.S. President Joe Biden for a class assignment several months ago, he expected to get feedback from his teacher. He did not expect to hear from the White House.
But in May, a letter from the White House - addressed to Juan - arrived at Abbott Middle School’s front office.
“I could not believe it,” Juan said in a telephone interview. “I was so excited. I could not wait to tell my mom and dad about it. They didn’t believe me at first - then they read the letter, and they got very emotional. They were so happy!”
Abbott teacher Miguel Diaz Pena assigned about 80 students in his Dual Language Spanish Language Arts class to write a business-style letter to the president.
Each student chose an issue where they presented their own opinion, along with an argument to support that opinion. Juan wrote about the environment and global warming. He offered options to help heal our environment - such as driving electric cars, rather than using gasoline-powered vehicles.
Diaz Pena said that he has been assigning his classes to write business letters to the president for the last five years. Juan is the first student of his to ever hear back from the White House.
“I was impressed - my expectation was not to receive a letter in response,” Diaz Pena said in an interview.
The letter, dated May 17, 2022, and signed by President Biden, encourages Juan to keep speaking out on issues like the environment.
“Always remember - when you make your voice heard, adults listen,” Biden wrote.
Diaz Pena took a photo of the letter as a keepsake. Juan, who will be a freshman at Larkin High School in August, gets to keep the original document. Framing it is one option he is considering. But he is certain that he will keep it in the safest place possible.
“I am planning to keep it where no one can grab it,” he said.