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Published May 16, 2012, 10:19 PM

Carl Ben Eielson students finally meet their pen pals

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - With texting and emailing, one would think pen-pals are a thing of the past, but wait until you see how rewarding it can be. For the past several months students at Carl Ben Eielson Middle School have been writing letters to residents living at Touchmark at Harwood Groves in South Fargo.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

With texting and emailing, one would think pen-pals are a thing of the past, but wait until you see how rewarding it can be. For the past several months students at Carl Ben Eielson Middle School have been writing letters to residents living at Touchmark at Harwood Groves in South Fargo. Today, the letter writers got to meet each other for the first time.

Fourteen year-old Paula Kosienski wasn’t even a little bit nervous, finally meeting her pen pal, 99 year-old Bea Ihlenfeld. For the past several weeks, Bea and Paula have been writing back and forth - handwriting, not emails or texting.

Paula Kosienski – Carl Ben Student: “I learned that texts are cool, but if you feel good you can write a nice letter. I also learned that just because someone is old does not mean they are boring, they are really fun to talk to.”

Bea Ihlenfeld, a retired school counselor and phy-ed teacher in Fargo told Paula about the $30 car she bought as a young girl, and when gas was 20 cents a gallon.

Bea Ihlenfeld – Touchmark Harwood Groves: “We need to understand each other a little bit. We are not a bunch of old fogies, we might be old, but we are not old fogies.”

What an afternoon this was. Students finally got to put a face to the name. More than twenty-one 8th graders who have been writing letters, sharing stories of their lives, and hearing some incredible ones from the seniors, like Dick Smith, shot down in World War Two over France. Fourteen year-old David Youngs heard thet story.

A room full of history, personal stories that today two generations shared.

Paula Kosienski: “Awesome, it has been amazing.”

All because two people took the time to write - not text - a little about themselves.

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