N.C.'s First Lady visits Lenoir County
North Carolina First Lady Kristin Cooper visited La Grange Elementary Tuesday. Photo by Catherine Hardee / Neuse News
LA GRANGE — North Carolina First Lady Kristin Cooper was a big hit with students and staff of La Grange Elementary School during a visit to Lenoir County Tuesday morning.
Cooper visited La Grange Elementary as part of an education-focused visit to Lenoir County. As she interacted with a class of second grade students, one student asked if she lived in the White House, prompting laughter from all the adults present. Cooper replied that she lived in the governor’s mansion in Raleigh, not the White House.
Cooper’s visit to the school included a greeting from Jennifer Sutton’s second grade class outside the school, with the students holding a banner welcoming the first lady. She then visited Georgia Tingen’s second grade class, where she heard about the book the students are currently reading, and settled the question of her residency.
This was followed by a visit to a kindergarten art class, where Cooper fell in love with the classroom’s pet rabbit. She visited several other classrooms, and spoke to both teachers and students, hearing about how the school has integrated technology into the classroom, and how it is helping prepare students for standardized testing.
Cooper spoke with the media after her tour had finished, and said she was very impressed by the school and the teachers. One of her main issues as first lady is literacy, and the importance of education and literacy in preventing cycles of poverty.
“Literacy was one of the first pieces of the puzzle that we ... dove into,” she said.
Cooper’s other stop in Lenoir County was the Lenoir County Education Foundation fundraiser in Kinston, where she was the keynote speaker. Lenoir County Public Schools Superintendent Brent Williams said he was very pleased to have the first lady visit, and was grateful for her help in raising money for the foundation.
“All of that money goes right back into the classrooms,” he said, in the form of mini grants to help teachers accomplish their individual goals.
Cooper is an enthusiastic supporter of these grants.
“These little bitty grants can make a huge difference at the small level for kids,” she said.