Curious about the footwear of the British monarch, a kindergarten class at Bester Elementary School in Hagerstown wrote a letter to Queen Elizabeth II.
The class wrote the letter as part of its Around the World project. The queen did not reply, but her lady-in-waiting did.
“We wanted to see if she ever wears sneakers,” said kindergarten student Angel Lease of Hagerstown. “She does wear them.”
The queen’s lady-in-waiting’s response included a picture of Queen Elizabeth astride a horse. On her feet were a pair of sneakers.
Teacher Terri Mullican said the idea to write the letter came after she read a story to her class about a queen who was mean because her heels were too tight.
“Their letter to the queen asked her if she wore sneakers, and if her feet hurt while walking around the palace,” Mullican said. “The lady-in-waiting didn’t actually comment on the question but she sent us the picture, and we are convinced that the queen saw it.”
The letter was part of a project in which students study and learn about different countries and cultures worldwide. Through word of mouth, Mullican and her students used international contacts they had to receive letters and postcards from people around the world.
A global employee at Energizer Battery was among the contacts, and Mullican said that was where it all started.
That contact “contacted people that she knew, and they sent mail from where they lived,” Mullican said.
“Basically, what happened was one person sent a letter, and they told somebody else, and they sent us mail. It just took off.”
The class even sent an email to a newspaper in Antarctica and was able to hook up with a scientist in McMurdo Station, a U.S. research center there. The scientist sent letters and pictures from Antarctica.
“We wanted to get mail from all seven continents,” Mullican said. “The scientist sent us photographs of penguins that she actually took.”
Hood College International students, and friends and relatives of the class also got involved in the project, Mullican said.
All seven continents were represented, and the students are writing thank-you letters to each letter-writer, she said.
They did theme-based art projects relating to the countries, had several days in which they tried different types of food from each of the countries and learned how to locate their countries on a map, she said.
Kailer Harrell, 6, of Hagerstown, is studying Egypt.
“We made sand cats and pyramids,” he said. “They have different kinds of foods in Egypt.”
Another student, 5-year old Bella Torrez of Hagerstown, is studying Germany.
“Germany has lots of pretzels,” Torrez said. “We also made cuckoo clocks.”
Torrez said she enjoyed receiving mail from people from around the world.
“We’re seeing stuff they actually have,” she said. “We can actually see that they have stuff that’s different than ours.”
The project began in January and has lasted all semester.
Mullican said she hopes the project teaches the youngsters that people are the same even if they come from different cultures.
“We’re just trying to look at people from around the world and realize that they’re the same as us and also different from us,” she said. “It broadens their horizons.”