STUDENTS: Remember last month when we shared a letter from a student in Washington State? A fifth grader named Chloe at Cascade Christian School in Puyallup, Washington, had asked to learn more about Pennsylvania.

Chuck and Ona Paar of Mount Jewett helped her out. Chuck tells us they sent a big package containing all kinds of things, with a several-page letter about the region and photos and even a T-shirt from the Mount Jewett Swedish Festival. He had an expired license plate that he sent, too.

Chuck said he got a thank-you card in return.

Has anyone else communicated with a student?

Chuck told us, too, about an international organization for over-the-road truckers called Trucker Buddy that matches drivers with a teacher for an educational experience.

Truckers can sign up to be matched with a classroom to be pen pals. The driver sends postcards, emails, letters, photos and can use the Trucker Buddy app to communicate with classrooms. The information the driver sends is worked into lesson plans on geography, math, science, social studies and more.

The students write back to the trucker and let him or her know what they learned.

And in the process, the students “get to know we’re real people too,” Paar said, explaining the benefits of the program. “The classroom tracks the driver on his or her travels.”

All of the information is online for teachers and for drivers to sign up.


CANDY: With Valentine’s Day coming up, we checked in with to find out what tasty treats people will be enjoying. According to the site, which ranks popular candy by state, Pennsylvania favors M&Ms for Valentine’s Day. Coming in second is the popular heart-shaped box of chocolates, while third place goes to Conversation Hearts.

The site says that not everyone is dependent on a sweetheart for sweet treats — 43 percent of people plan on buying themselves a box of chocolate. Traditionally, 58 million pounds of chocolate are bought during this week.

The peak selling period for Conversation Hearts is only six weeks long, and it takes 11 months to produce enough for those six weeks.

Children receive 39 percent of all Valentine’s Day candy and gifts, the site says.