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EXCLUSIVE: The story behind those letters written to Gordon Hayward by Junior High students from Utah.

Robyn Hayward posted on instagram how Gordon Hayward had received letters urging him to stay. This is the story behind those letters.

NBA: Playoffs-Utah Jazz at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

I started teaching at Tooele Junior High School in October. It was right around the time that the Jazz played their first game of the regular season, and it didn’t take long before my students discovered how much I liked the Utah Jazz. We followed the team quite a bit throughout the year.

We also spent quite a bit of time learning how to create, support, and organize arguments in writing. It only made sense that our last assignment of the year was to write a persuasive letter to Gordon Hayward.

The assignment, which was optional, simply required the students to write a short persuasive letter to Gordon Hayward, asking him to renew his contract with the Utah Jazz. It also required that they use their best handwriting since we were going to mail all the letters to Gordon himself.

It was such a fun assignment. The students put a lot of thought and work into the letters, which was nice to see. They even managed to come up with some pretty persuasive points. For example, one student wrote “You guys were great in the playoffs. I hope to see you take the Jazz to the playoffs next year. Please Stayward.”

They used logic and spoke from personal experience. “You already know your teammates’ strengths and weaknesses, which will help you in the game,” one student wrote; while another wrote, “You have two little girls. Speaking from experience, having to move states because of your dad’s job sucks.”

Other students tried taking a flattery approach: “You did really good playing the Clippers, but Golden State was a little more tough but you still did great. Your team did great.” Another put it simply: “You’re a good player and I want our state to win.”

For the most part, the students took the assignment very seriously...but not everyone shared the same level of seriousness. Instead, one student shared a made-up experience before explaining he was going to offer Gordon “some really good memes” but forgot.

Overall, the assignment was a great way to show that the skills and strategies we learned throughout the year go beyond the classroom. The kids made some good points, and their letters made me smile.

I can’t wait for school to start again in August to tell them that Gordon and Robyn actually received the letters! Now, I just hope I get to tell them that their letters were persuasive enough.