First Ladies to connect with Brewer students via Skype

The following is a news release from the Governor’s Office.

AUGUSTA – Former First Lady Barbara Bush and Maine First Lady Ann LePage will virtually visit Brewer elementary school students on Monday, September 17, 2012, as they use Skype to hold an online video conference with the students. Mrs. Bush, who summers in Kennebunkport, and Mrs. LePage will connect online Monday afternoon with third and fourth graders at Brewer Community School, 92 Pendleton St., Brewer.

“This is such a wonderful opportunity to engage with students and use technology in the classroom to connect with them,” said Mrs. LePage. “Books are still a staple in how we educate our children, but today’s students are also virtual learners, and digital technology is a fun and exciting way to bring the world to them.”

More than 350 students from Brewer Community School will take part in the video conference, which will be 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 is groundbreaking. I truly believe they are the first to do something like this,” stated Ms. MacInnes. “Maybe they will inspire other leaders to do the same. Video conferencing is a great way for leaders, authors and others to work with schools.”

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 her work as a literacy advocate. Mrs. Bush was first lady from 1989 to 1993.

“When Ann LePage and I discovered our mutual admiration for Cherrie MacInnes and her Chatting Across the USA program, we decided one day we would do a joint Skype session. So here we are!” said Mrs. Bush. “It is always a joy to Skype with the third-graders in Brewer – and it makes this 87-year-old great-grandmother feel young again.”

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.

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