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Milk Money Returns To Edmond Elementary School 56 Years Later

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One Edmond native took the time to write their old elementary school an apology letter for something they stole in 1958. One Edmond native took the time to write their old elementary school an apology letter for something they stole in 1958.
EDMOND, Oklahoma -

We all made mistakes in elementary school, but not many of us try to make up for them years later. One Edmond native took the time to write their old elementary school an apology letter for something they stole in 1958.

"Dear Mrs. Cowden-Draper, I've recently returned to church after a 25 year absence..." is how the writer began.

In an anonymous letter with no return address, marked "personal," to the Clegern Elementary School principal, Teri Cowden-Draper, thought the handwritten note was from one of her former students.

"When I started reading it, I was just completely overwhelmed," Cowden-Draper, who has been principal of the Edmond neighborhood school for a year, said.

After reading some more, Cowden-Draper learned it was an apology letter from a student long ago.

"One of the many things I asked God's forgiveness for was this: stealing when I was in grade school there in 1958," the author wrote.

The Edmond Historical Society & Museum provided some old pictures of Clegern Elementary in the 1950s. It's the time, the letter writer said every afternoon, their teacher would pass around a tray of milk cartons that only students could take only if they had 10 cents to pay for it.

The author wrote, "Now, I'm the oldest of six children, and we didn't have a dime to send with me to school. Well after weeks of that tray passing by me, I just took a carton of chocolate milk."

Now at 62 years old, the writer sent $100 to pay off their decades-old debt.

"You can tell that it was really heavy on their heart and that they wanted to make amends, and they wanted to fix a mistake that they made 56 years ago," Cowden-Draper said.

It made for a lesson on honesty and integrity shared at the school's afternoon assembly. Cowden-Draper broke down in tears while reading the letter aloud to a packed cafeteria of 280 students with their teachers and parents.

Fifth grader Sadie Hollrah said she thinks she would do the same thing if she stole something and regretted it years later.

"I think that this is a very good life lesson for all of us and that it's never too late to do the right thing," Hollrah said.

The letter closed with:

"I'd like you to use the enclosed money for any child or children, who you know at your school, who could use a treat or their lunch paid or for anything you choose. Thank you, and God Bless you for the job you do."

The school hopes the person who wrote the letter will come forward, so they can thank them.

The principal issued a challenge to the school Friday afternoon to write down an idea of how the school could best use the $100.

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