High school students paying it forward

High school students everywhere struggle, but McCracken County high School students are looking for a solution. 

Rachel Jaenichen teaches creative writing, and her latest lesson was on books that became movies. When her students told her the material she was picking was depressing, they told her they wanted to pick the next one. 

Cole Barrett picked “Pay It Forward.” After watching the movie, they didn’t want to write about it. They wanted to do something about it. As a class, they wrote anonymous letters about things that matter to high school students: loneliness, bad relationships, identity, and depression.  

They hung the letters in the busiest hall in the school for other students to take if they needed an encouraging word. 

“I honestly didn’t expect anyone to take the letters,” Barrett said.  

But they do. Jaenichen’s class has to replenish the letters just about every day. They’re printing hundreds of copies. They’ve already expanded to social media. They’re on Instagram and Twitter @mustangsPIF.Anyone who wants to get a positive thought sent to their cell phone can text @mchsPIF to 81010.  

“Commas are important, and learning how to write are important,”Jaenichen said. “I want them to do well, but at the end of the day I want them to be good people and be uplifting. If that’s what they take away from my class — how to love one another — then I’ve been the most successful as I can be.”

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