State Supt. Janet Barresi Reads to First-Graders, Helps Distribute Backpacks Provided by Feed The Children


Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi today read to first-graders at Cesar Chavez Elementary School in the Oklahoma City School District and helped pass out backpacks filled with books, school supplies, food and personal care items provided by Feed The Children.

“This is the highlight of my week,” Barresi said. “I got to read to children, which is something

I’ve been asking parents and adults all across the state to do. Also, with the help of Feed The
Children, I got to hand out backpacks filled with supplies these children will need to be
successful in school.”

Feed The Children Director of Communications Tony Sellers said the event was organized at the
school because it is estimated that the percentage of students there on free or reduced lunch is
about 95 percent. Feed The Children also gave the Oklahoma City School District 1,920 filled
backpacks to distribute to all homeless students throughout the district.

Sellers said Feed the Children will be doing the same thing next week in Tulsa and Union school
districts, and in all will distribute about 6,000 backpacks statewide this year -- about half of the
current estimated homeless student population in the state.

Barresi said focusing on helping these children read and supplying them with food and other
necessities will help them get past barriers such as poverty and homelessness so they’re better
able to learn on an equal footing with their peers across the state.

During her reading session, Barresi read from the Disney book, “World of Fairies: At the Dawn
of Pixie Hollow,” teaching the children various vocabulary words such as “inexperienced” and
“disaster.”

She asked the first-graders if they could use their imaginations and pretend to be anything they
wanted?

“A pirate,” “A princess,” “A fairy,” were some of the responses.

Barresi taught the children to kiss their brain in acknowledgement of how smart they were. This
involved kissing two fingers and touching it to the tops of their heads.

First-grader Cynthia Jenkins, 6, called the day’s events “exciting.”

“I liked everything,” she said.

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Last updated on January 12, 2012