‘Outrageous Request’ fulfilled: Persuasive letter by Gwinn student wins products for local hair salon
GWINN — Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s OK to make an “Outrageous Request.”
Each year, Gwinn High School teacher Amy Waldo has her students write what’s called an Outrageous Request to companies. In Waldo’s ninth-grade English class last year, sophomore Emily Bandle wrote to the Wahl Clipper Corporation, which makes home-grooming products, asking the company for new clippers, trimmers and guards for her mom, Kerry Bandle, and her coworkers at The Guys’ Place – A Hair Salon for Men in Marquette.
Wahl granted her request, sending the student over $5,000 worth of products.
The unveiling of the surprise came at the Oct. 19 Gwinn Area Community Schools’ board meeting.
“This assignment is my favorite assignment in my teacher toolbox and it’s definitely a student favorite too,” Waldo said in an email. “It’s one of the rare assignments where I get 100% of student participation. It embraces the cornerstone of my teaching philosophy, which is that our stories and our words matter.”
Her students, she noted, “pour out their hearts” into these letters, some of which were successful too; over the years, several Outrageous Letter requests were granted, including one that led to $3,000 donated to a local foster care organization. Another letter resulted in a student’s artwork featured on a leotard for gymnastics, while yet another letter produced over $2,000 worth of Manga novels for the school library.
As Waldo tells her students, the purpose of the assignment is to engage in persuasive writing as an alternative to a standard essay. Not only do they embrace the “lost art” of letter writing — and how to address and stamp an envelope — a “real world” audience reads their writing.
The assignment, she said, also reinforces the notion that communication, as well as their words and voice, matter, and goes against the assumption that teenagers constantly bury themselves in their cell
What does Emily Bandle think of her successful effort?
“I usually really dislike surprises, but this felt just so amazing,” she said in an email. “The feeling of not only my own surprise and excitement, but also my mom and her coworkers has made me so happy for a week now. I’m just so grateful and lucky that I got this opportunity, and I got to share it with so many amazing people.”
Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org