Elephants Fork, Northern Shores ‘pals’ finally hook up

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 2, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Friendships are the foundation of life and 20 fifth graders from Elephants Fork Elementary and 20 from Northern Shores Elementary schools have been building friendships for a little over a year by pen and paper. On Friday, they spent the morning touring Historic Suffolk and just getting acquainted.

Sue Ellen Mears, the fifth grade teacher from Northern Shores, said that her students were surprised and excited when they met students from Elephants Fork. &uot;They really didn’t know what to expect and began to exchange addresses. It was a positive trip and an exercise in writing that students could enjoy while working toward their SOLS,&uot; said Mears.

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Mears and Tara Moore, fifth grade teacher from Elephants Fork, incorporated penmanship, writing skills, map reading, and history lessons into their students’ yearlong pen pal relationships.

Moore said the students met about 10 a.m. and parted about noon but it was two hours of togetherness that they will remember for a long time.

&uot;They have been trying to increase awareness of writing fun and this is a way kids can learn the writing process, improve on skills toward SOLS, and receive a big reward in the end,&uot; said Moore

The tour began at the historic Prentis House on North Main Street and included touring historic downtown Suffolk sites.

At the Prentis House students learned that it was purchased by Peter Bowdion Prentis from Dr. John Thomp

son Kilby on Dec. 21, 1857, and is one of the oldest standing homes in Suffolk. It was intended to be a manor house. The home was set back from the street with a large yard on the north side. When the Union

Army occupied Suffolk during the Civil War, Prentis, who was clerk of the Nansemond County Court, was arrested with other prominent citizens and held hostage to ensure the cooperation of the townspeople with the union troops. He was later safely returned and resumed his position as clerk of court.

The Suffolk Tourism staff participated in this special get-together by providing a historic walking tour including a scavenger hunt and making etchings at Cedar Hill Cemetery. The day ended with a luncheon at Ryan’s Family Steak House, which is a partner in education with Elephants Fork Elementary.