ETX elementary school receives visit from pen pal across the pond

Video: Putting some English on Christmas

ORE CITY, TX (KLTV) - While most elementary school kids learn about foreign countries from books, one East Texas elementary school got to learn about England from a special visitor who has lived there all their life.

After corresponding with East Texans, Fred Williams decided he just had to leave London and see in-person the people he has been writing to, and he saw all of them at Ore City Elementary.

Not only has has he been writing to them, he has also been sending holiday packages to the school for years, just to show the kids what Christmas in England is like.

It started three years ago when third-grade teacher Jennifer Myers sent out a Facebook message.

“I had a writing assignment that was Christmas traditions around the world, so I decided to do a Facebook post to see if anyone knew anyone from a different country that could write a letter,” Myers said.

The message made its way to Williams in London. He thought letters alone was not enough.

“Just letters? The Christmas tradition is sending presents. So I thought I figured if I was going to write about something I better include an example of what it was,” Williams said.

Williams would send presents such as chocolates wrapped like coins.

“Money was sent down the chimney by Saint Nicholas to put into the stockings of some women who needed a dowry to get married.” Williams explained.

He included other things like local brochures and biscuits which are more like cookies. At time continued, he began sending more packages.

“He sends one for just about every holiday now. So, it’s constantly,” Myers stated.

When Williams arrived at the school, the kids turned their tradition around, presenting him with gifts.

“I was overwhelmed by not only one, I got three packages,” Williams revealed.

He hadn’t gone through everything yet, but it was all very East Texas and included cowboy boots, which he didn’t hesitate to pull on.

And then he was serenaded by an elementary choir singing “Deep in the Heart of Texas.”

While it may not be similar to being knighted, the experience shares a similar sentiment.

“If they welcome me then I’m happy to be an honorary Texan,” Williams added.

Fred Williams will do much more on his trip to America after he leaves Ore City Elementary. He plans on boarding Amtrak’s Texas Eagle to see some of the U.S. by train.

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