After writing earlier this year to President Joseph R. Biden expressing their concerns and hopes for the future of the country, David Cataletto and his sixth-grade students at the East Hampton Middle School were pleasantly surprised when the children got a letter back from the president on June 9.
Sophia Herrera Loaiza, 11, had written of her concern about plastic objects in the ocean, suggesting the president tell "owners of restaurants, or cafes, or stores, that they can only sell a certain amount of plastic objects and the rest of the objects can be out of a very fine material that can dissolve in the water, like paper!" She also cited the importance of trees "so there should be an area like in the Amazon jungle or just a big jungle that cannot be touched, nobody can cut down trees, nobody can litter, nobody can set foot in that jungle. Why? Because people litter!"
She asked Mr. Biden what had been his hobbies as a child and what his favorite subject in school was, ending with "Thank you President Biden, I hope that this letter finds you easily, and I hope that I gave you some ideas that you probably didnÕt think of! I wish you a great presidency."
A classmate, Matthew Calle, also wrote about plastic pollution in the ocean and about global warming and its effect on the loss of habitat for animals. "I wonder if you will take action on what I just said? I also wonder if you could help stop making plastic?" He ended with, "Being the president is a big responsibility so be good and stay well."
Mr. Biden replied: "Our country faces many challenges, and the work we have ahead of us is going to be really tough. I am certain that if we set aside our differences and come together as a nation, we will create positive change. It will not be easy, and I am going to need your help. Even at your young ages, you have the power to impact the future for generations to come. Throughout your lives, remain curious, creative, and fearless. These traits will serve you well and allow you to experience the best life has to offer. . . . Study hard. Keep challenging yourselves. And be kind."