Brewer Students Get Surprise Visit from Two First Ladies

September 17, 2012

For Immediate Release: Monday, September 17, 2012
Contact: Paula Benoit (207) 627-7500

AUGUSTA – Former First Lady Barbara Bush and Maine First Lady Ann LePage were scheduled to virtually visit Brewer elementary school students on Monday afternoon using Skype to hold an online videoconference with the students. But to the surprise of hundreds of third and fourth graders, Mrs. Bush, who summers in Kennebunkport, and Mrs. LePage showed up at Brewer Community School.

“The students were surprised and all smiles,” said Mrs. LePage. “I’ve had the opportunity to engage with hundreds of Maine students through online technology and I think it’s a great way to connect to our children. This time, however, we wanted to surprise them and we did!”

More than 350 students from Brewer Community School took part in the videoconference led by third grade teacher Cherrie MacInnes. “I think that the fact that these two First Ladies are joining forces to provide this type of educational experience to our students is special,” said Ms. MacInnes.

Last year, Mrs. Bush spoke with Brewer students about her life in the White House with 41st president, George H.W. Bush, the importance of reading, and about her work as a literacy advocate. Mrs. Bush was first lady from 1989 to 1993.

“Surprises are always risky, but we pulled this one off. Cherrie MacInnes is an amazing teacher – one I wish I had as a third-grader,” said Mrs. Bush. “This was just a small way that Ann and I could thank Cherrie for all she is doing for children in Maine and across the United States.”

Mrs. Bush founded the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy while in the White House, and the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center in Portland was named in her honor.

MacInnes is a supporter of using online technology, including the Chatting Across the USA program, to connect her students to the world. Previous classes have visited all 50 states online and chatted with former U.S. Secretary of State William Cohen, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, and former Maine Governor John Baldacci.