Ottumwa student meets senior pen pal: 'We're actually kind of the same'

Domanik Steele (left) poses with his new friend, Danny Byrum/Beth Waldon

Second graders at Liberty Elementary School are forming new friendships with Ottumwa’s senior citizens.

Each month, students exchange letters with residents of the Good Samaritan Society. For the first time Tuesday, the pen pals met face-to-face.

18 students and 18 seniors are quickly learning they have more in common than they thought.

For Danny Byrum, 71, and 7-year-old Domanik Steele, it's a shared love for apple pie.

"We're actually kind of the same,” Steele said. “I like ice cream and apple pie...he likes it too. He's a good pen pal."

Steele and Byrum spoke about meeting each other for pie someday soon. But the duo may have to fight for the last slice.

"I don't think you'll like your apple pie,” Byrum told Steele. “I'll take care of it for you.”

"Only if I’m full,” Steele said.

The pen pals will continue writing each other through the end of the school year.

"It's been the most positive thing in the world, getting them to write,” said second grade teacher Jody Rupe. “We've gone from, 'Oh, do I have to write?’ to ‘When do we get to write our letters?' so that has just been such a great thing."

Students will meet their senior pen pals again this spring at the Good Samaritan Society in Ottumwa.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off