A handful of first-graders’ letters brought Georgia’s First Lady to Paulding County.
Sandra Deal, the wife of Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, came to W.C. Abney Elementary Thursday afternoon to read to students. Her visit to the school included a stop in Karen Edfeldt’s first-grade classroom. It was the efforts of Edfeldt’s class last year that led to Deal’s visit to Dallas.
“One of my students from last year, Olivia Kirkman, was the poster child for food allergy awareness for the state of Georgia, so she went for a day at the capitol.
My students, we were working on persuasive writing, so they wrote letters to the governor inviting him to come and visit our school, and Olivia took them and delivered them. This was last year’s students, and he sent a letter saying he couldn’t come, but his wife would like to come,” Edfeldt said. “It didn’t work out with the scheduling of last year, [but] two weeks ago, she wrote an emailing saying she’d like to come visit.”
Edfeldt didn’t immediately tell her class that the First Lady was coming. They had to guess.
“We do a thing called ‘Mystery Reader.’ Every week in my class, I give them some clues, we do some problem solving steps so they have to guess who it is,” she said. “And it’s usually parents or school employees or other people, but this was a very special one.
“[So] the kids don’t know who it is, and I take about five or six clues and I start off with saying things like ‘She rides in a black vehicle,’ and they come up with everybody they can think of that rides in a black vehicle. Then ‘She likes basketball,’ so they name everyone. We start crossing off. ‘She has four children and six grandchildren,’ and we start crossing the names off of people who don’t match. This was a hard one, but when I said, ‘Her husband works for the state of Georgia, and works in the government,’ some of my kids were able to figure it out.”
In addition to Edfeldt’s classroom, which also accommodated students from last year for Deal’s visit, the First Lady also visited the school’s media center to read to kindergarten and pre-K students.
Edfeldt says she hopes Deal’s visit will lead her first-grade students to realize that they are capable of more than they may think.
“What I hope they took away from it is that you can actually have something happen [when you write]. My kids wrote letters not really thinking the [governor’s] office would respond. What I hope they took away from that is even 6-year-olds can actually do something.”