While the U.S. Postal Service’s future remains uncertain, the future of its counterpart at Cougar Elementary is as bright as a sunny spring day.
The mail carriers and other “employees” of Wee Deliver work to deliver letters and parcels to students and teachers all over the school, said Tracy Holland, a Cougar Elementary second grade teacher and the coordinator of Wee Deliver.
Wee Deliver employs five students from each second grade classroom or a total of 50 students for each of the two postal sessions. The first postal session begins in November and ends in March while the second begins in March and ends in June. Each session includes a postmaster and a postmistress to lead the staff of students.
The student response to Wee Deliver is excellent, Holland said. So many students want to be part of the program that teachers came up with a "hiring” process.
Teachers write recommendation letters for job candidates, she said. There’s even an interview process. “Everybody wants to be a letter carrier,” she said. “Or a Nixie clerk. They say, ‘I’m good at stamping!’”
Once the employees are selected, Cougar Principal Pam Terry swears in the Wee Deliver staff.
The whole purpose of Wee Deliver is to teach children vital skills, Holland said. “It teaches students life skills. The base of it is writing skills and communication skills,” she said. “And there’s the fascination of getting mail.”
It’s seems everybody is in on the act of getting and sending Wee Deliver mail. In addition to students receiving mail from other students, parents and grandparents of students send letters and packages through the service. Even the parents of teachers sometime send letters, Holland said.
Teachers send birthday cards to one another and correspond with their former students. Holland said she and her daughters write one another letters and send them via Wee Deliver.
Each classroom has a street address while groups of classrooms make up three different cities within the school. Addresses are searched in the address directory, which is available to students and adults online on the school's website .
The school has already met its goal of sending 5,000 letters in one year, Holland said.
As a treat for meeting the goal, Terry and Vice Principal Katrina Saunders will stand on top of Cougar Elementary School this spring and wave to the students.
Wee Deliver continues to push the envelope—literally. The students hope to handle 10,000 letters by June.
And letter writers never have to worry about the price of stamps increasing. Each stamp is free, as it is hand drawn by the writer, Holland said. They are stamped out when they come through the Wee Deliver mail room, just like at the real post office, she said.