PHOENIX - In Geoff Barrett's eighth grade English classes at Desert Sands Middle School, the kids have been learning how to write a variety of things this school year. This week, it was how to write a formal letter to somebody.
Not just anybody, though. Barrett is a great admirer of Arizona Senator John McCain.
First, he wanted his students to get to know the senator as a military man. He shared McCain's Vietnam War experience and the torture he suffered. Barrett says McCain told his captors, "'...until everyone else is free, I'm not going anywhere.'"
"Think about the courage that took," he added.
But he also wanted the kids to learn about McCain, the public servant, and essentially, "how our government, indeed, works for us," he said.
Then, Barrett asked his students to include one more thought for the Senator and his family.
"We are thinking very positively about him and sending good wishes for him," he said.
After some quick research, the kids put pencil to paper and are sending some truly heartfelt letters to Sen. McCain.
Eighth grader Yuliane Barrera wrote: "You have done things I would never think of doing. You've inspired me to think more wisely and think things through."
And Michael Beck wrote: "I want to thank you for the things you've done in office. You kept Obamacare, which gives many Americans healthcare. You went there even though your health wasn't the greatest."
And eighth grader Miguel St. Johas concluded his letter by writing: "Because of what you did for those men that's why you're in the Senate, because you're strong."
Barrett says he'll be sending about 120 "get well/thank you" letters from the eighth graders at Desert Sands Middle School near 63rd Avenue and Campbell in west Phoenix.