RMMS 4th Grader Connects with CBS News Host

Making Connections: RMMS 4th Grader Corresponds with CBS News Host
Posted on 03/03/2020
Makayla Couzelis

Regional Multicultural Magnet School (RMMS) 4th grader Makayla Couzelis was doing her homework when her mom came into the room with an envelope and a question for her daughter.

“Makayla, why is Face the Nation sending you mail?”

The answer filled Makayla with joy and a sense of accomplishment. Weeks earlier, she sent a letter to CBS reporter Margaret Brennan explaining why the United States government needed to take action on climate change. Brennan replied with a handwritten response complimenting Makayla’s passion and dedication to the topic, calling her letter “thoughtful and respectful.”

“We need more concerned citizens like you,” Brennan wrote. Her response to Makayla also included a Face the Nation fidget spinner the doubles as a USB port and memory stick.

Makayla’s letter to Brennan came following a climate change unit at RMMS, an interdistrict magnet elementary school administered by LEARN. The entire 4th grade finished the unit with Hugh Birdsall, an education consultant from Mystic-based Reforest the Tropics. The students learned about how deforestation was affecting climate and the impact it was creating for future generations.

The students’ next task was to raise awareness by contacting influential people. Most of Makayla’s classmates in teacher Cindy Schofner’s room sent letters and drawings to politicians, mailing to the White House and Connecticut’s congressional delegation.

Makayla took a different route. She determined that a journalist might be receptive to her letter. After a little research, she decided that Brennan – the host of the Face the Nation ­on CBS, who interviews important people every Sunday morning – would be a good correspondent. After all, Brennan was an influential reporter and was a native of Connecticut, just like the students in Ms. Schofner’s class.

Makayla wrote her letter, included drawings, and received the response a short time later. She was thrilled and her classmates were excited for her.

“I feel very strongly about climate change and nature,” Makayla said. “We need to do something and soon.”

Schofner was proud of all her students for their efforts.  She believes that Brennan’s response vindicated the meaning and impact of the learning that takes place at RMMS every day. Students are applying themselves in ways that are connecting them across local, statewide, and even global levels.

“No matter who you are or how old you are, if you have passion, you can make a difference,” Schofner said.