(Centralhatchee) – Students and faculty at Centralhatchee Elementary School played host to a very special guest Tuesday morning when the First Lady of Georgia, Sandra Deal, stopped by to read a book to the entire student body in the school gymnasium.
Deal, a Hall County native and former teacher, launched her “Read Across Georgia” initiative in support of Gov. Nathan Deal’s goal of increasing the percentage of children reading at grade level by the completion of third grade.
The governor proclaimed March “Read Across Georgia” month in honor of this initiative.
The First Lady read a book written by a 90-year-old great-grandmother, Elizabeth Brown.
The book, titled “Who I’d Like to Be,” is about a young boy who dreams of being different animals and insects and what he would do if he were each character, but eventually decides that he is happy to be himself.
The book was illustrated by Brown’s 8-year-old great-granddaughter, Alexandria Brown of Canton.
“By teaching children to read now, as they learn to read, they will later be able to read to learn. It is so important to polish those reading skills by the third grade so that they can be proficient readers as they move on to high school and college,” stated Deal. She reminded the young students that each person has something they can contribute to the world.
The school presented the First Lady with a framed token of appreciation for her visit, a hand-drawn caricature of the First Lady created by CES art teacher, Shelby Etress. The piece was signed by every student, faculty member, administrator, and volunteer at the school.
“I was well pleased with the reaction that we had from the First Lady. It is obvious she is an educator by the way she read to our students. She has a love of reading in her heart and she and her husband know the secret to success is reading; and she is promoting that. Our superintendent’s (Jerry Prince) goal is to make Heard County students the top readers in the state,” stated CES principal, Carol Thomas.