Dear Monica, Thank You for Tooting My Horn


I received this letter from Monica and I just have to let her toot my horn.

Every time I look back to my childhood, in one of those random reminiscent thoughts we get from time to time, I’m always reminded of my favorite teacher. And so, I was intrigued to look her up! What else is the World Wide Web good for anyway?

My 5th grade teacher at Calvert Street Elementary school in the little city of Woodland Hills, California was the best, and one of the only teachers from grade school I can ever remember clearly. Not only did she teach the normal 5th grade agenda in a fun, insightful way, she also taught me how to use and express my creativity, how to be accepting of others with Tolerance, and how earthworms help turn pencil shavings and food scraps into useful dirt. With her encouragement, and tenacity for creativity, she would assign my peers and I projects such as entering county art contests and making our own books. SERIOUSLY, she showed us how to write them, how to bind them and do everything ourselves…I even made mine into a pop up book. I also won 2nd place and a $500 savings bond in a county art contest. But, best of all, she taught me about life without me even realizing it.

Mrs. Clapkin, I was only 10 years old at the time I was in YOUR class. And now at 25, I can say whole-heartedly that I am so grateful for the experiences shared in your classroom. Because of your enthusiasm for knowledge and discovery, you shaped my perception of this world and our country in an enlightening way.

A fond memory I have is seeing my mother’s reaction to the Holocaust exhibit during a field trip to the Museum of Tolerance. Even my mother was taught something about history that day that I am sure she wouldn’t have ever known otherwise. She emigrated from Mexico when she was just 9 years old. After the field trip, she said that she had not ever seen anything like that when she was in school and that she really liked you as my teacher.

There are no words to express my appreciation for all you did for me and hopefully still do for others today. I think children in this generation would greatly benefit from more teachers like you, although I don’t believe there are any out there that can compare to you, Mrs. Clapkin. I hope you have had a blessed life and continue to do so.

Your former student,


Dear Monica,

Your letter wins all prizes. Thank you.

Please contact me with your phone or email.

I want to take you and your family out to dinner.

I forgot to tell you something.

Love and respect,

Mrs. Clapkin, but you can call me Sheila now.