Letter leads to learning; Strode Station Principal persuaded to declare more Jeans’ Days, PJ Day A-OK too

Published 4:45 pm Monday, January 24, 2022

Fourth grade student ZoeyAnn Thorpe’s letter inspired change at Strode Station Elementary and was read near and far across Clark County.

Thorpe’s letter sought to convince Strode Station Elementary Principal Ruthann Sharrock to change the teachers’ dress policy during the winter months. Also published in the Winchester Sun, Thorpe penned a persuasive argument that said teachers should wear warm clothes and be comfortable. See Thorpe’s letter below. Link to original story:  https://www.winchestersun.com/2022/01/15/strode-station-elementary-student-writes-letter-seeking-change/

Sharrock offered high words of praise to Thorpe for her drive and passion, standing up for others.

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“I really appreciate ZoeyAnn’s letter,” she said. “What I truly like is that she was asking for others and not herself. What an admirable character trait! Being community focused and willing to act on it is a wonderful combination; we all could learn a lesson from this. If you want to accomplish something, no matter how big or small, you have to take that first step. I see great things in her future with her passion and drive. I’m so glad she is a Strode Station Stallion!”

Sharrock wrote a reply to Thorpe’s letter to say that Jeans’ Day is a good idea but also to discuss the staff’s dress code policy that already allows folks to wear jeans on Wednesdays and Fridays along with other occasions so much sometimes that it is truly a “Jeans’ Week” at the elementary school.

Also, kids may look forward to another one of Thorpe’s ideas coming to fruition, Pajama Day.  (See the Sharrock’s letter below).
“ZoeyAnn, you made so many good points in your well written letter and I appreciate you speaking up for something you strongly believe in,” Sharrock’s letter said. “Speaking up for other people is such an amazing quality to have! Your supporting evidence was well stated and I love the way you showed that others supported your ideas, as well.”

After reading Sharrock’s letter, Thorpe offered kind praise to her principal.

“Mrs. Sharrock is so nice to say kids can wear pajamas once a month,” she said. “I love having a principal that writes me a long letter. It makes me feel happy! Now, maybe other kids will write letters about things that they think are important.”

According to Sun’s Facebook page, Thorpe’s letter reached nearly 6,300 people, who reacted/liked it 94 times, shared it 17 times and left 38 comments.

Emily Meyers posted, I hope her next letter is to her teacher! I am so proud of the progress she has made and would love the opportunity to show a little support (and love) to a student so passionate! The article left out how this shy girl went around to classes to get students and teachers to sign in support. The students were so impressed that she took her own free time to type up something like this. The best part of working at an elementary school is fostering the kids’ love of learning, even if it is just by supporting their crazy ideas!

Principal Sharrock’s letter
Dear ZoeyAnn,
You are so right! Strode Station staff love to have a Jean Day!
Your letter reminds me of all the reasons why.
ZoeyAnn, you made so many good points in your well written letter and I appreciate you speaking up for something you strongly believe in.
Speaking up for other people is such an amazing quality to have! Your supporting evidence was well stated and I love the way you showed that others supported your ideas, as well.
You may not know this but the staff is allowed to wear jeans twice a week. On Wednesdays we celebrate Strode with Spirit Day and if a staff member wears a Strode Station shirt they can wear jeans! On Fridays, we honor one of our former staff members named Angel with Angel Day. I never met her but from what I understand she was the reason Fridays became Jean Day.
In her memory, we still celebrate Fridays as Angel Day.
In addition to Wednesdays and Fridays, I also sprinkle in Jean Days at other times. We might have a Jean Week if it is a special school-wide week or maybe if it is a short week at school like a four-day week.
Sometimes as a staff we decide to pay to wear jeans for a period of time and donate the money to a special cause.
At our Christmas party gift exchange, I always include at least one ‘gift certificate’ to wear jeans for a month. I have a few who will ‘fight’ over that gift.
I’ve made the month of January a Jean Month before, and last year was a Jean Year due to all
the challenges we were facing. It was the least I could do for a staff who works so hard and asks
for so little. I just really like having the option of declaring a Jean Day.
My favorite Jean Days of all are in honor of my late Aunt Jean Ray. Besides my parents, she was
instrumental in shaping who I am today. She was a lifelong educator, teacher, and guidance
counselor. In her honor we always celebrate her birthday in October and remember her death
in May with Jean Days. I wish everyone had an Aunt Jean!
So, you can see I am on board with Jean Days and I love having them throughout the year.
ZoeyAnn, although I cannot change the official dress code, I do have the flexibility to have special days like Jean Days and I will continue to do that. Please do not be disheartened but know that your voice was heard and appreciated!
Keep up the good work! Again, thank you for your letter. I am so proud of you and love your passion. You are destined for great things and I am so glad you are a Strode Station Stallion!
Oh, pajama day… I think once a month should be ok. Strode Staff love PJ day, too! Plus, you know, I never thought about adding pearls to jeans. I will have to do that, and I sincerely hope everyone’s face is always clean – behind the masks!
Love you, ZoeyAnn. You make me proud!
Principal Sharrock

ZoeyAnn’s Letter to Principal Sharrock
Dear Principal Sharrock,
I know you’re in charge of the school and make lots of big decisions. Can you please allow teachers to wear blue jeans during the winter months?
Here’s my reasons!
Teachers have to bend down and sit on the floor a lot. Their jobs would be easier if they could wear comfortable pants. They could really use it since most aren’t so flexible anymore.
Another reason why they should wear blue jeans in the winter is because it’s so cold outside and teachers have car duty. Shouldn’t they be wearing warm pants in the cold?
A last reason why teachers should wear jeans in the winter is that teachers can still look serious and nice in blue jeans. A pearl necklace can dress up any outfit. The male teachers like Mr. Holiday should make sure their face is clean since they don’t wear a pearl necklace. Am I right?
Please give this note a chance! That’s all my reasons and plus my mom is in a better mood when she wears comfy clothes.
P.S. – While we are at it, can kids also wear pajamas one day a month?
ZoeyAnn Thorpe