Persuasive Letter

This weekend I decided I wanted to change a rule. To do it, I realized I could write a persuasive letter. I’ve learned from Lucy Calkins that “writing can change the world”. I wanted a small part of my world to change. So I drew on all I learned from TCRWP Writing Unit of Study to write a persuasive letter to the rule keeper.

Here’s the background of the situation:
My parents, back in 1966, were active members of their neighborhood homeowners association. Within a 10 mile radius of their neighborhood, there were community pools but they all had a wait list. My dad suggested at one association meeting that this group build another pool so his family and all the families in this neighborhood would have a place to swim in the summer time. After lots of meetings and reaching out to the community to persuade people to buy into this idea, High Point Pool was built. My dad has since passed away and my mom now pays her annual dues at the single, senior rate. She rarely goes to the pool but she will stay a member. How can she not? High Point Pool is the place she and my dad helped to become a reality.

As I reflected on the pool this summer and all the wonderful memories spent with our pool friends at High Point, I got am idea. Next summer, the Summer of 2016, will be the 50th Anniversary of the pool. My mom, now 80 years old, and three others were original members and today they still belong to the pool. My idea is that the Pool Board could propose to offer these original members an Honorary Membership. They could change the rule and no longer charge them dues.

Here’s the letter I drafted, revised, edited and sent to the High Point Pool Board:

Dear Mr. Moschella,
I am writing to to you, the President of the High Point Pool, about an idea I’d like you and the Pool Board to consider. I feel strongly that Honorary Free Lifetime Pool Memberships be offered to those who started the pool 50 years ago. Without their efforts, no pool would exist today on Woodland Drive.

I will admit that I am biased in suggesting this idea. My mother, Mary Anne Stallings, along with her friends, Mary Francis Moriarty, Cindy Chase and Nancy Schneider, were all original members back in 1966 and were instrumental in creating High Point Pool. Sadly, they are the only still-living original members. Along with their spouses, these women took the risk to chip in their hard earned money and convince a bank to help them build a neighborhood pool. They sat through many meetings and made many phone calls and persuaded many others to join this venture. Now all four remarkable women are widowed and all are on a fixed income and all continue to dutifully pay their membership dues. They do this despite the fact that their visits to the pool are more infrequent. When I ask my mom why she still pays her pool dues, she simply replies, “How can I not? High Point Pool is the place where your dad and I made the dream of a pool into a reality.”

And what a great reality it is!! I just turned 50 but I can still vividly recall my time spent at High Point Pool. Every morning during the months of June and July from the ages of 6-18 I was at swim team practice. Then most afternoons after a quick trip home to have breakfast, pack a lunch and grab a dry towel and my Nancy Drew novel I returned.  It is where I’d swim for 45 minutes straight – playing Sharks and Minnows in the deep end or Marco Polo in the 3 feet area or Jump/Dive/Twist off the diving board. Then sit out for a 15 minute break announced by the lifeguard’s whistle. Saturdays were swim team meets filled with cheering and racing for those blue, red and white ribbons. Sundays were the best! Krispy Cream donuts were served and we could bring rafts into the pool. At least one night during the summer, the pool stayed open late for Movie Night. They set up a big screen and rented a reel-to-reel movie and showed it with popcorn once it got dark. On the Fourth of July, they had a Penny Dive and a Greased-Watermelon Race. At least twice each summer was a Pot-Luck dinner. I loved waiting in the long line to fill my plate with a variety of yummy dishes shared by all the pool families.
Today, High Point is a well maintained pool and, as you know, it has a large membership with a long waitlist. However, this would not be the case if a group of forward-thinking neighbors did not have the idea and courage to build such a place. In my opinion,  the least the Board can do is to consider honoring these women with an Honorary free membership. Some might think that the idea of a community pool is for all to contribute and pay their dues, as it takes lots of money to pay the bills to keep the pool running strong. However, I suggest it would be a fitting tribute as the pool turns 50 to honor these four women who were there on the pool deck on the very first day the pool opened and who spent many, many days prior bringing the dream of a pool to a wonderful reality.
Thank you for considering my suggestion.
Sally Donnelly
sally.donnelly11@gmail.com
703-307-6689
One time member of the pool as a Stallings Family member 
and now guest at the pool of Mary Anne Stalling, Original Pool member
————————————————————————————————–

I will blog updates if/when I hear back from the pool Board.

And I plan to use this writing of mine as an example of how persuasive writing might change a rule. And I’ll point out that if the idea is never written down and shared, it never will.

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11 thoughts on “Persuasive Letter

  1. Ms. Victor says:

    What a great letter and a great idea. This is such a lovely tribute to your mom, also serves as a great mentor text for your students, and brings to life a real purpose for writing. I hope they make the change!

    Like

  2. Ms. Victor says:

    What a great letter and a great idea. This is such a lovely tribute to your mom, also serves as a great mentor text for your students, and brings to life a real purpose for writing. I hope they make the change!

    Like

  3. Fran says:

    Sally,
    Such a great example of how a real life audience and purpose drives the writing. Your examples and details make this a great mentor text. I'm looking forward to hearing what the High Point Pool Board decides!

    Like

  4. Fran says:

    Sally,
    Such a great example of how a real life audience and purpose drives the writing. Your examples and details make this a great mentor text. I'm looking forward to hearing what the High Point Pool Board decides!

    Like

  5. Bernadette Laganella says:

    Sally, Your childhood memories are enviable and your parents sound like they were very involved members of their community. Such involvement does deserve recognition. I am sure the pool board will be happy to accept your recommendation. This was an extremely well thought out and written letter. Let us know how the board responds.

    Like

  6. Linda Baie says:

    Wonderful idea, Sally, a tribute to your mom and to her co-founders, and a wonderful example of using words to persuade for your students. You've convinced me! Can't wait to see how it all ends.

    Like

  7. Lisa M says:

    This is a great example of persuasive writing for your students. It also shows what an important tool writing is for communicating. I hope your letter does lead to the change you are suggesting.

    Like

  8. Lisa M says:

    This is a great example of persuasive writing for your students. It also shows what an important tool writing is for communicating. I hope your letter does lead to the change you are suggesting.

    Like

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