Gastonia, N.C. - Woodhill Elementary students are participating in a pen pal partnership with students in South Korea.  The program promotes creative writing, critical thinking skills and cross-cultural understanding.


Horace Mann Insurance agent Bob Furlong taught English to students on the island of Namhae, South Korea.  He introduced the idea to the school in August. “So many students in our community grow up thinking that Gastonia or Charlotte is the center of the universe,”  said Furlong. “I hope that corresponding with students who live on the other side of the world will make them realize that there is so much more out there. I want them to see that this is a truly globalized world they are living in.”


Woodhill students received letters and drawings from fourth, fifth and sixth grade classes at Sulchom Elementary in South Korea.  The program helps students to learn letter writing techniques and gain an understanding of the Korean culture.  Students in Korea are learning how to read, write and speak English and the letters that the Woodhill students are writing is a great resource for them to practice those skills.


Woodhill Elementary principal Jacob Barr applauded the students on their hard work. “The pen pal partnership serves as a way to get students excited about writing and making connections with other cultures as we continue to work toward educating globally competitive students."


Much like in America, boys in Korea are writing about their favorite sports, computer games and movies and girls are writing about their favorite colors, activities and musicians.