Pittsfield kids meet their U-M pen pals: See the slideshow

U-M soccer player Jen Pace enjoys some playground time with her pen pal, Sophia Riegle.
U-M soccer player Jen Pace enjoys some playground time with her pen pal, Sophia Riegle.
Pittsfield and Pattengill students were treated on Tuesday to a meet-and-greet with their University of Michigan athlete pen pals.  In an effort to learn more about life as a college student and improve their correspondence skills, the elementary students have been exchanging actual letters—on paper!—with the athletes.
Pittsfield Elementary fifth grade teacher Jennifer Barcelata said the program is a way for the kids to have positive interactions with role models within the community. She said her students learned about self-discipline and what it takes to be successful.
“(The college students) talked about what it takes to be a university athlete and a university student; how they manage their time,” she said.
As her students learned how to ask good questions, they were also invited to share aspects of their own lives, said Barcelata.
Fifth grader Sophia Riegle said the program was very cool.
“It was fun because I could talk about things with people at U-M,” she said, minutes after meeting her pen pal,  soccer player Jen Pace.
Pace was just as happy to meet Sophia.
“I just really like working with little kids and helping them create chances for the future, and talking to them, and getting them interested in sports and how that plays out in the community,” she said. “(Sophia) was really excited in both of her letters, which was cool to see. And it was cool to meet her in person, too.”

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