University and Primary School Pen Pals

Big Buddies from Deakin University exchanged almost 400 handwritten letters of encouragement with St Francis Xavier Primary School this year as part of the Literacy Buddies program.

Literacy Buddies was coordinated by the Deakin Engagement and Access Program (DEAP) in collaboration with the Ardoch Youth Foundation, and has seen 31 volunteer Deakin staff working with 31 Little Buddies from St Francis Xavier PS’s grade 6 cohort in Corio, Geelong.

“The Big Buddies visited the school in June to meet their pen pals face-to-face, and have engaged in letter-writing throughout the year encouraging and supporting their Little Buddies’ academic achievement,” said Jane Finlay, Deakin Manager of Access and Equity Partnerships.

“Deakin Big Buddies have been incredibly impressed with the students’ writing and engagement skills and have enjoyed the friendships they shared with their Little Buddies.”

St Francis Xavier PS grade 6 teacher Steph Everett said her students loved sending and receiving letters.

“The students are always so excited to receive and write their letters – it’s great to see them handwriting their letters and being creative in how they present them, they are always so proud,” Ms Everett said.

“Having Big Buddies from Deakin shows students that university can be something that’s achievable for them, helping to develop that early connection and know that they too can go to university one day if they would like.”

St Francis Xavier PS grade 6 student Angus said that he liked getting creative with his letters.

“I like how the Big Buddies are friendly and caring towards us and what they write in their letters,” he said.

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