Every June at Maplewood Middle School in NJ, 6th grade students participate in a rite of passage: they write a letter to their future 18-year-old selves. After the letters are completed and sealed, they are held for six years. When a class is about to graduate, the teachers mail the letters from their past selves. For over 25 years, this extracurricular assignment has encouraged students to imagine and reflect on who they are and who they will become.
DEAR FUTURE ME features both high school seniors opening their letters and 6th graders writing to their future selves. The results are surprising, emotional, and heartwarming. Since none of these students have been in school since March due to the Covid-19 pandemic, students have a unique perspective this year and the letters take on even greater meaning. But even more than reminiscing about their middle school selves, the letters prompt reflections of identity, race, sexuality and just how much can change in six short years.