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Governor visits Dorchester Catholic school for Read Across America Day

By Mark Labbe Pilot Staff
Posted: 3/4/2016

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Gov. Charlie Baker reads Dr. Seuss' 'Green Eggs and Ham' to students at St. Brendan School in Dorchester March 1 as part of National Read Across America Day. Pilot photo/Gregory L. Tracy

DORCHESTER -- "Super Tuesday," March 1, was a busy day for those in the political arena, but that didn't stop Gov. Charlie Baker from spending part of his morning at St. Brendan School in Dorchester, reading the Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel's book "Green Eggs and Ham" to over 200 students.

The visit was to help the school kick off its celebrations for National Read Across America Day, which falls on March 2, Geisel's birthday.

The Massachusetts governor read slowly to the children, frequently asking them to shout out what words or lines came next in the picture book, and he laughed whenever they shouted out the wrong things.

When he finished the book, one student from each grade, from pre-k to 6th grade, took turns asking the governor prepared questions.

While several of the students' questions dealt with the day's theme of reading -- such as "What is your favorite book?" (It's "To Kill a Mockingbird") and "Do you like nonfiction or fiction books better?" (He likes to read both) -- the governor also fielded some more colorful questions.

"Can you play the air guitar?" one student asked.

The governor politely declined to demonstrate his air guitar skills in the presence of so many cameras.

Another student asked the governor how he prefers to communicate with his college-aged children. "Are you a texter or do they answer their phones when you call?" he asked.

The questions elicited laughter from the parents and teachers as they crowded around the governor to take photograph him shaking hands with each student that asked a question.

Following the questions, Gov. Baker was presented with gifts, including books by local authors, and was asked to hang a paper sock with his name on it on the wall to kick-off St. Brendan School's Reading Initiative Program.

Speaking to The Pilot, Principal Maura M. Burke explained the program will last a month, and will encourage students to read at home.

"If you read for 20 minutes a night, you get a sock to put up" on the wall, she said.

Before leaving, Governor Baker took the time to pose for pictures with students. Father Michael Drea, pastor of St. Brendan's, told The Pilot that the governor told him that he "has a lot of family and friends that he knows whose children have either gone to St Brendan's or are presently here at St. Brendan's."

Father Drea said the school was "thrilled" that the governor accepted their invitation to have him read to the students.

Sixth grader Deckland Holland, who asked the governor about the ways he communicates with his children, told The Pilot afterwards that he thinks the governor "is a really nice guy."

"I got to shake his hand, I got to talk to him (and) I got his autograph!" he said.