Zionsville Times Sentinel

October 8, 2010

Cheri Daniels reads to children at TPCA

By Emily Atwood/Times Sentinel writer

— A room full of first graders listened intently as the First Lady of Indiana Cheri Daniels read a story about a young boy’s experience with snow.

Daniels visited Traders Point Christian Academy’s first and second grade students Thursday, Oct. 7, and read “The Snowy Day” to them.

When Daniels asked the children who had read the book before, every single hand shot up in the air.

And their arms stayed up as the session rolled into a question and answer period.

“What is your favorite job,” Raegan Smith, a young girl whose blonde hair was pulled back in a pony tail, said.

Daniels decided on being a teacher and Smith quickly agreed.

“Me too,” Smith said.

One of the most common questions was how Daniels helps out her husband, Governor Mitch Daniels, with his work.

Saying she doesn’t really help him at the office, she keeps busy traveling to schools and attending to guests at the governor’s residence.

“He has to do things there (the office) and I do things like this,” she said.

From September to May, Daniels visits schools across the state. So far she has gone to approximately 50 schools.

“It’s nice to see all the different kinds of children,” she said.

At the end of her visit with the 48 first graders, she gave them purple bracelets that said ‘I love to read.’

“Being able to read means being able to learn,” Daniels said.

As Daniels waited in the hallway to read to her next group of 45 second grade students, a class of first graders yelled in unison “Thank you Mrs. Daniels.”

TPCA Elementary Principal Shane Schaffer emphasized how important it was for the kids to see a political figure.

“It meant a lot for them,” he said.

Only a year older than the first grade class, the second grade students already showed more maturity while in Daniels’ presence.

They asked similar questions like if she had a dog and how many children she had. But differing from the previous students, one asked if Daniels had written a book.

She has and it’s called “Shadow Tail Meets the Gang.” A children’s book, it is about a young squirrel that moves to a new forest and learns a lesson on peer pressure.

“We’re gonna have to read that one aren’t we,” TPCA second grade teacher Sally Teachout said.

At the end of each read, a student capped it off with a prayer thanking Daniels for coming to their school.

“We have a wonderful school and it’s special to be able to share that, especially with Mrs. Daniels,” TPCA Director of Admissions Toni Kanzler said.