Children in Oquirrh Elementary School did their patriotic best - and it paid off. They have letters from both President and Mrs. George Bush commending them for their interest and wishing them well as fellow Americans.

The first-grade youngsters in the classes of LeAnn Rushton and Pat Rusk followed last fall's election process as part of a unit on patriotism. They cast votes in the school's election and then watched the winner, George Bush, inaugurated in Washington, D.C., in January."When we went back to the room, they wanted to send a letter to their new president," said Rushton. "They dictated and I wrote what they wanted. One child said he was thankful the new president would say a prayer and ask for God's help. Another was thrilled that Bush mentioned school children in his speech."

Another child was impressed that the nation's leader and his First Lady would hold hands for all the world to see. The classes decided to write to Barbara Bush, too.

Oquirrh is a year-round school, and the replies from the White House came while these particular first-graders were off-track. When the children returned to class, they had letters from the country's leading citizens.

Bush promised the youngsters he would try to be a good president. Part of Mrs. Bush's letter was hand-written, a special touch the children will remember long after they are ready to cast their own votes for President of the United States, Rushton said.