As reported in the Washington Post, Melanie McCabe teaches at Yorktown High School in Arlington, Virginia. She's taught since 1999, and knows her students may eventually forget essays they wrote, but hopes they'll always remember a story she tells each year in February. Even seniors like to hear stores, and listen closely as she recalls being 11 and having a crush on a classmate named David. That year, on Valentine's Day, her class swapped Valentine's cards. One of hers was extra big, and it was from David. But when she opened it, he had written, "To the ugliest girl in our class."
The cruel card shook what little faith she had in herself for a long time. So after sharing her story, she invites her seniors to become 10 again, and have a Valentine party. She cuts pink paper into squares and invites each student to write something "positive and sincere" to everyone in the class. The results have been heartwarming. Ten years ago, for example, one boy wrote to a girl that he'd loved her since third grade, and they soon became a couple. And that's not all. Three years ago, a boy wrote that Ms. McCabe was the only one who noticed when he felt depressed, and he appreciated it. Over the years, parents reported that the senior party boosted their teen's self-confidence. But Ms. McCabe still remembers the year she received a Valentine that said, "To the Prettiest Girl in the Room." Everyone signed it, and it still hangs next to her desk.