Ninth-graders at John F. Kennedy High School in Silver Spring, Md., got a boost of encouragement to serve their communities by President Barack Obama, who sent them a letter. The students wrote to the president recently about their plans to serve in the community, including efforts to help the hungry and homeless. Many of the students said they were surprised to hear from Obama, but one of the English teachers who gave the writing assignment, Jessica Lidh, said his response was a bonus. "We wanted to make these kids realize they actually are important to society," Lidh said.

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