In this moving letter to Nation editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel, ten elementary school students from Reservoir Avenue Elementary School in Providence, Rhode Island share their experience reading a Nation editorial together in their school principal’s office. Many thanks to the students for writing and to Principal Socorro Gomez-Potter for hosting the conversation

Dear Ms. Vanden Heuvel, 

We are fifth-grade students from Reservoir Avenue Elementary School in Providence, RI. Reservoir is a poor school community, but we have accomplished many academic goals. Currently we are as good or better than ninety-three schools in our state. Our school population of 312 students is made up of 75 percent Latino, 16 percent Asian, 8 percent African-American and 1 percent other.

The purpose of this letter was to share with you our experience reading your editorial. During our reading class we were discussing the word "raid" which moved our discussion to war. We posed a question to our principal. Why are we still at war even after Osama Bin Laden has been killed? She told us about you and how you asked a similar question in your magazine. The next day we were introduced to your editorial from May 23, 2011. Ten of us met in the principal’s office to read your editorial and discuss the text.

Reading your editorial was challenging, but it made us feel powerful. While we read your editorial, some of us felt like low-level readers because of the many words that were new to us. In order to understand it we used our reading strategies like chunking, cause and effect, words in context, and monitoring and clarifying. After reading and discussing your editorial we felt motivated enough to write you this letter. 

We discovered that the Bush administration started a war on terror that is infinite. This could potentially cause devastation in many different countries. We agreed with your suggestions to President Obama on how to take a step on closing the "dark chapter" that this war created. We think we should reduce US forces in Afghanistan and increase positive communication between everyone.

While we were working on this letter we found out that President Obama followed many of your suggestions in your editorial. On May 1 President Obama went to Afghanistan and personally addressed our troops. It seems President Obama took advantage of the opportunity, as stated in your editorial, to take a step to close the "dark chapter in American history." He will reduce US forces and begin Peace Talks.

In conclusion, we would like to thank you for writing this editorial and challenging us to discover more about our current events. We hope that more people take your advice and increase positive communication globally to solve conflicts. 


Ivan Davila, Shyloc Ork, James Dorante Jr., Jovan Cabreja, Sergio Liranzo, Izaiha Ortiz, Elianix Lugo, D’zire Scott, Zechariah Toppin-White, Issac Bun, Jason Hernandez