The Herald Bulletin

March 3, 2009

Indiana’s first lady reads at Lapel

By Aleasha Sandley, Herald Bulletin Staff Writer

LAPEL — The Cat in the Hat and the Lorax weren’t present at Lapel Elementary School on Monday, but third-graders welcomed another special guest to help them celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday.

Cheri Daniels, the first lady of Indiana, read the Seuss classic “Are You My Mother?” to the third-grade class of Margie Sturgeon and student teacher Leigh Ann Schnepp.

Lapel was the third stop on Daniels’ school reading tour Monday, a practice she typically does to stress the importance of reading. Monday, however, was special, as the students celebrated Read Across America Day in honor of Seuss.

“They have to learn to read,” Daniels said of the students. “They have to like to read, because that’s sort of the gateway to their success.”

Daniels picked “Are You My Mother?” because it was a favorite book of her four daughters, she said.

After reading the story aloud to the class of students donning construction paper Cat in the Hat hats and ties, Daniels answered their questions, from her favorite foods — spaghetti and fried chicken — to what it’s like to be the first lady.

“I just get to be called the first lady because I’m married to the governor,” Daniels answered to a curious student who wondered if she really was the first lady ever in Indiana.

Daniels described the governor’s residence and busy campaign times and said she was able to have family dinner with her husband most days of the week.

“We connect almost every evening,” she told the students.

Students in the class, which next will read “Charlotte’s Web,” enjoyed meeting Daniels.

Student Taylor Ramsey said her favorite part was when Daniels mentioned her high school, New Albany High School, had the same mascot as Lapel, the Bulldogs.

“It was fun to meet the governor’s wife and that she got to answer our questions,” Ramsey said. “We also got her signature and autograph.”

Regan Sanzone loved hearing about how Daniels occasionally goes to Indianapolis Colts games, and Spencer Hampton thought it was interesting that Daniels attended Indiana Pacers games.

“I thought it was really cool that she liked the Bulldogs,” Hampton said.

Contact Aleasha Sandley: 640-4805,