The approach of Valentine’s Day is weighing heavily on the shoulders of Brookhaven Elementary School’s sixth-graders.
They have been selected to hoist bulging mailbags Friday and deliver the hundreds of valentines that the school’s post office is processing this week.
“We’re having the sixth-graders come in and deliver because they already know what they’re doing,” said delivery supervisor RiAnne Hall, 11, of Placentia. She said she doesn’t want to take any chances of botched deliveries on the mail system’s busiest day.
Part of the U.S. Postal Service’s Wee Deliver program, the Brookhaven Post Office encourages literacy through letter writing. More than 23,000 schools nationwide have participated in the program, which started in 1990, said David Mazer, manager of corporate relations for the Postal Service’s Southern California area.
Brookhaven is the second school in the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified District to start a post office to handle mail within the school, Principal Paula Emry-Burtt said. Sierra Vista Elementary was first, setting up its operation last year.
At Brookhaven, students, teachers and parents typically drop about 30 pieces of mail a day into a large red mailbox in front of the school. Tuesday’s count was boosted by more than 75 red, pink and white envelopes.
“We’re having everyone in the school mail their valentines,” teacher Peggy Faure said. “We’re mailing ours Tuesday, and I hope they get there by Friday.”
Different classes work in the post office each week, learning how to sort and deliver mail.
Five supervisors, sworn in by Placentia Postmaster Keith Moddelmog, oversee daily operations and have begun selling 1-cent stamps. Money raised from sales will be donated to a local charity at the end of the year.
To make delivery easier, parents and teachers stenciled street names like Teddy Bear Way and Honey Bear Trail along the sidewalks and posted white mailboxes outside classrooms.
The holiday crush has been stressful, the student supervisors said, but they enjoy the responsibility and their insiders’ view of what goes through the mail.
“There was a love letter we saw that said, ‘From your secret lover,’ ” said Carrie Teichert, 11. “That was pretty strange.”