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Sunday, February 5, 2023

Ambassadors renew mailbox memories

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Less than two months after the north end of Wrightsville Beach was one mailbox short, a group of University of North Carolina Wilmington students have answered the call for a new one.

The original mailbox stood at the north end for 11 years under the care of Bernard and Sidney Nykanen with the simple message of “Leave a Note” written on its door.

The Nykanens revisited the mailbox every other week to replace the mailbox notebook until March when vandals destroyed the mailbox bench and Bernard decided he could not keep it up anymore.

Now, as of Sunday, April 27, the UNCW Student Ambassadors organization has installed a new mailbox exactly where the original last stood and plans to maintain it for many years to come.

Student ambassadors community service chair Madison Page said her connection with the mailbox led her to inquire about taking up the duties.

“I love going down to the mailbox and writing notes, and I know that it is such a huge part of the community, so I brought it to the ambassadors asking if we could maintain the mailbox,” Page said.

The organization agreed with Page’s suggestion and a group of ambassadors met at Shell Island Resort on April 27 to walk to the north end and install the new mailbox.

The premise of the mailbox will remain the same but the student ambassadors have installed a larger mailbox, allowing for a larger notebook and more writing or drawing. It is painted white with teal lettering and the same message on the door, “Leave a Note.”

Page said each of the 60 members of Student Ambassadors would have mailbox duties on a rotating monthly schedule.

“We have different committees within Student Ambassadors … and what we are going to do is each month a different committee will be in charge of coming out here to put in a new journal and pick up trash,” she said.

Student Ambassadors’ treasurer Paige Garner said the organization always has roughly 60 members, with new students cycling in each year. The mailbox will become part of the ambassadors’ tradition, she said.

“It is going to be something that is passed through all the committees so everyone is aware of it,” Page said. “We are just going to make it one of our traditions … and add it to the list of things we do every year and make it a part of the Student Ambassadors.”

After learning of the mailbox’s new future, Sidney Nykanen said she and Bernard were happy someone had picked up where they left off.

“We just weren’t sure if this was going to be something that people would want to keep up with,” she said. “I am pleased that UNCW is behind it, there are a lot of college kids that really like it and use it. This is exciting because it sounds like something that will stay.”

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