Elizabethton, Tenn. — The students in Lisa Burdick's second grade class at Valley Forge Elementary School have friends all around the world.
Their growing worldwide network started when the class received a postcard from a local church.
"They were wishing us well, thinking of us, and hoping we had a successful year," Burdick said.
She put the postcard up on the wall next to a map showing the students were they were. The map sparked an idea.
"If we could get one postcard, let's see if we could get the area of states around Tennessee," Burdick said.
One postcard turned to two, then three, then many more, until the class had received postcards from all 50 states.
"We have a lot from New Jersey, California, Tennessee, Georgia," Burdick said.
The students weren't the only ones excited by the growing project.
"I was sort of like the students that would come everyday and say, Ms. Burdick, did you get any mail?" fellow teacher David Arwood said.
He thought, if they could get postcards from all 50 states, then why not from all around the world? He posted a request on Reddit and other social media sites, asking people to send a postcard to Valley Forge Elementary.
"And the response was overwhelming," Arwood said.
They've now received postcards from 125 countries and territory. As the project grew, they moved the map out into the hallway of the school.
The students have received letters form governors, memos from ambassadors and even a stuffed animal moose from Finland.
The students are getting the chance to travel the world with the help of strangers, and are seeing what the world is like outside of Elizabethton, Tennessee.
"These students know that there is a large world full of diversity," Burdick said. "People from all over the world cared enough about the students at Valley Forge Elementary to write them and send them postcards. Take the time. And that's pretty awesome."
The class isn't done yet, they still need about 70 more postcards to fill out the map. They ask if you've traveled recently, think about sending them one. You can address it to:
Valley Forge Elementary
2nd grade, Ms. Burdick
1485 Riverview Dr.
Elizabethton, TN 37643
These are the countries they still needs postcards from:
2. Dominican Republic
5. French Guinea
7. Western Sahara
8. Western Sahara
13. Cote Div-ore
14. Burkini Faso
15. Sierra Leone
18. Equatorial Guinea
23. Central African Republic
25. Democratic Republic of Congo
36. South Sadan
48. East Timor
50. Marshal Islands
53. French Polynesia
54. Cook Islands
58. Falkland Islands
59. Saint Helena
63. San Marino
64. Faroe islands
65. Marshal Islands