What's better than a good thank-you note? Fifty-seven of them.

Last month, I spoke to students at a summer day camp at Rock Prairie Elementary School in College Station about journalism. In particular, I discussed what reporters, editors and photojournalists do, how the newspaper comes together and what would happen if the electricity went out and we couldn't print a paper.

My reward for getting out from behind my desk for an afternoon: 57 colorful construction-paper notes of appreciation adorned with newspaper clippings and marker drawings.

I tend to keep thank-you notes forever. I've got more than a few pinned to bulletin boards and stuffed in desk drawers. There's just something about getting a personal note that makes me feel good. Usually after getting a thank-you card, I have to resist the urge to send a thank-you-for-the-thank-you card. If only there were you're-welcome cards.

Few cards can beat those that are hand-fashioned with glue, markers and scissors, with letters cut out of newspapers and stuck to construction paper, ransom-note style.

One of the cards I received included a coupon for 50 cents off a box of Cheerios. Another one, from a girl who addressed it to "the awesome newspaper guy," had a note that said she didn't want to be quoted if I wrote a story about my summer camp experience because she doesn't like attention. Several of them had drawings -- flowers, balloons, people, and what I think may be a golf course.

All of them made the two hours I spent talking about the process of gathering the news worth it.

So, to the kids and leaders at Rock Prairie Elementary's summer camp journalism club: Thank you.

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