From Junior Coach to Presidential Pen Pal

  1. Updates

Each day, the White House receives thousands of letters and emails from Americans around the country, and the President responds to only a handful. Playworks was thrilled that former Junior Coach Benny joined this select group of presidential correspondents.

Last summer, Benny wrote a letter to President Obama describing her experience as a first-generation immigrant. Adjusting to Southern California was difficult at first, she explains, but now she is settled in her community and especially enjoys learning with her teacher. Benny vows to continue to work hard in school in order to fulfill her dream of becoming a lawyer.

President Obama saw something special in Benny. In his reply letter, the President encourages Benny to dream big and study hard, stating, “If you stay focused on your education, I know there are no limits to what you can accomplish."

We know the possibilities are wide open for Benny and her friends at Florence Griffith-Joyner Elementary. They are already becoming the leaders of tomorrow.

Congratulations, Benny!


Benny’s Letter to the President

Dear President Obama,

My name is Benedict [last name] but my friends call me Benny. I come from Africa. My Country is called Congo.

There’s a lot of fun stuff to do there and my favorite food is shawma [sic]. It’s a burrito filled with onions, chicken, fries, mayo, and more stuff. I admire you so much because in my country the president is horrible. He kills people if they do one little bad thing so my country is really violent. When I was 5 years old we move to Watts California. I was not very happy we moved here but later on I was very happy.

My dream is to become a lawyer and go to an Ivy league school. I’ve heard that you went to an Ivy league school so I hope you can recomend [sic] something for me. To achieve my goal I’m working hard in school. I am now at Florence Griffith Joyner Elemetary [sic]. I’m in the fourth grade. My teacher Ms. Chea is very beautiful, kind, talented, smart, and very respectful.

Hope you write back!


Your friend Benny


President Obama’s Letter to Benny

Dear Benny:

Thank you for writing. Hearing from thoughtful, engaged students like you gives me great hope for the future, and I am glad you took the time to share your views with me.

I am absolutely committed to making sure you and your generation can go as far in life as your talents and hard work will take you. And more than anything else, that means building an education system that is worthy of your potential. It means strong support for every teacher, high standards for every school, and cutting-edge learning tools for every classroom.

As your President, I will never stop working to make that vision a reality. Because a good education is not just the best investment you can make in your future–it is the best investment our country can make in a strong economy and lasting opportunity for everybody.

As we keep making progress toward these goals, I want you to keep dreaming big and studying hard. If you stay focused on your education, I know there are no limits to what you can accomplish.

Thank you, again, for writing. I wish you all the best.


Barack Obama

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