Just a few weeks ago, I attended a field trip with my photography class and traveled down to New York City. The purpose was to drive downtown, hit the Meatpacking District, have lunch, shop around in the Chelsea markets, and walk up and down the Highline Park. It was a beautiful day, so I tried to make the most of it before the city got too windy and frigid during the winter.

While in the Chelsea markets, I came across a white-toned bookstore by the name of Posman Books. It was so nice to just peruse through the stacks and find amazing books with attractive front covers that immediately caught my eye. Amidst all of the books and other bookstore trinkets, there was a stationery section. I looked down to find packs of beautiful “thank you” notes and “Happy Birthday!” cards. All of them were so unusual and each had an entirely different design on the front. The ones I liked the most were probably the simple letterpress “thank you” cards with a colorful animal on the front. I proudly bought the set with the pink spotted pigs and hope to use them for my college thank you cards.

After some thought, I realized how few times during the year I receive a hand-written note or card mailed to my mailbox. With the exception of the usual cards from Grandma, I am constantly getting junk mail, like college mailers and political advertisements that pile up and eventually find their way to the garbage. It’s such a shame when we forget about the option to write someone a card. Now, you can so easily shoot someone an email, post a “Happy Birthday!” on someone’s Facebook wall, or even write a note to some of your Tumblr followers online. I cannot express how gratifying and special I feel when I notice someone has taken the time and put in the effort to write me a hand-written note.

Those who do deserve hand-written cards or notes often don’t even get them. I can think of only one woman in the high school whose job is so unrecognized yet so important. The work of Mrs. Sue Mangan, our school registrar and “college goddess,” is the work of a miracle maker. To think that even one person wouldn’t send her a thank you card by the end of the year is not so much shocking, as it is wrong. Even the teachers for whom students ask for recommendations from should receive a thoughtful thank you note before the students leave for college, as should any person who works as hard as they do.

As I write this column, I respectfully demand every student heed this lesson, every mother and father tell their children this lesson, and every grandmother and grandfather tell their grandchildren about this lesson. Write people like Mrs. Mangan a thoughtful note. It should lift their spirits and show how much they meant to those they help. Getting a note like that is such an extraordinary feeling. Even the shortest, and most arbitrary card sent to friends could brighten up their day more than anything else. Hopefully, I will generate the same feeling once my thank you cards are sent out. I know for some people, this dying art of actually using a pen and paper to thank someone is a consuming and dumb use of time. Think past that and just write the card. You never know how much you can do!

Terrence McLaughlin is a senior at Wilton High School. He shares this column with four classmates