LAKEWOOD, Ohio — Garfield Middle School sixth grader Meghan Wilburn had pretty much forgotten about her fifth grade argument essay assignment, which included writing about any subject of her choice and mailing it to an applicable person.
However, that all changed last week when the sixth grader was summoned to the office.
“When I got called down to the main office I was thinking maybe it had something to do with a fee, but when I got there they gave me a letter,” said Wilburn, 11. “Then I saw on the envelope it from The White House.
“I remembered I did my essay on climate change. We were able to send it whoever we wanted so I sent it to Kamala Harris and Joe Biden.”
With letter in hand, Wilburn returned to class where she read its contents to her orchestra classmates.
“It was really crazy to me,” Wilburn said. “I was like in shock. I couldn’t believe what was happening. I was shaking when I read it and thinking my parents would be really happy.”
Wilburn said her favorite part of the letter was Biden’s signature, as well as the empowering message: “Even at your age, you have the power to change the future and make history.”
The letter also said, “I urge you to remain curious, creative, and fearless. Students like you are the future of our great Nation, and it’s important that you speak up on the issues that matter most.”
Taking her climate change message to heart, Wilburn said she’s actively turning lights off when not needed and also choosing paper over plastic straws.
“I hope people can start to understand more about climate change, help out more and think about it more,” Wilburn said.
As far as Garfield Middle School Principal Robin Pettiegrew is concerned, Wilburn’s story is empowering and inspiring for all ages.
“Meghan’s classmates and staff are very proud of her, and the community too,” Pettiegrew said. “It’s really important we take a role in making sure that what we do is part of a global initiative because we don’t live in a bubble.
“So when we see students like Meghan who take initiative like this and make sure their voice is heard, we also hear the conversation from other students. They want to figure out how they can do something like that, how they can make change. So it’s been very positive, very well received.”
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