Congressman Guest reads at Mannsdale
U.S. Rep. Michael Guest was in town last Friday morning to read to Mannsdale Lower Elementary School students as part of the Read Across America program.
Read Across America celebrates Dr. Seuss’ March 2 birthday and is a nationwide reading celebration dedicated to motivating children to read. It focuses on the importance of literacy, encourages students to read more books, and aims to get them excited about reading.
Guest read the children’s book “One Vote, Two Votes, I Vote, You Vote” by Bonnie Worth to first graders and explained the importance of reading while also showing them how important voting is. Guest donated the book to the Mannsdale Lower Elementary library.
Afterwards, students asked Guest what his job was like in Washington and what kind of work he does to represent Mississippi.
“Probably one of the greatest parts of this job is to go out and interact with the students,” Guest said. “One of the most fulfilling parts is when I’m home and have the chance to come to schools and talk to our future leaders.”
Guest has represented Mississippi’s Third Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2019. He said that while the time he spends in Washington, D.C. in committee hearings and drafting legislation is very important, the work back in his district is equally crucial.
“Whether we’re here at schools visiting with students or with veteran groups, all of those things are important,” Guest said. “When I’m not in D.C., I make every effort possible to be out in the schools and in the community talking to people about the things that are important to them. We’ve done this before for Read Across America campaigns, so any time a school reaches out to us or if we see an opportunity to interact with our schools, we always take advantage of those opportunities.”
After reading to the first -graders, Guest visited several classrooms to hand out flags to students and gave stickers and bookmarks to special needs students.
Donna Russell, a regent for the River of Pearls Madison chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, said her chapter represents 12 schools in Madison County, one of them being Mannsdale Lower Elementary.
“All of these schools have baskets for their libraries, and they’re filled with stickers, bookmarks, coloring pages, and other things, all about Dr. Seuss,” Russell said. “It all encourages students to read. We also get celebrity readers to come out and read to the students. We were able to get Congressman Guest out here today.”
Russell said she saw Guest as a “beacon of light” for the Lower Mannsdale students, just as Guest cites President Ronald Reagan as a beacon of light for America during his time in office.
“The Congressman truly wanted to be with these kids,” Russell said. “He took the time to come down here and visit them and I think it’s so special when people do that. The kids got to meet him and ask him questions. He was supposed to be there at the school for around half an hour but he stayed for over two hours. We all got to witness a true servant’s heart in action today.”
Mannsdale Lower Elementary Principal Emily Mulhollen said reading is paramount at the school and Guest’s visit taught the students how important reading is to education.
“Donna Russell helped get Mr. Guest out to our school and we loved it,” Mulhollen said. “It was a great experience to have a representative come out here who’s serving our country. When someone in leadership takes time out of their schedule to come do something like this, it teaches students the importance of reading.”
She said the school promotes independent reading year-round, and said reading is the foundation of Mannsdale Lower.
“I believe that if a child can successfully read, it will affect their entire career,” Mulhollen said. “Teaching kids to love to read for educational purposes and for pleasure is our goal. We celebrate Reading Across America big time and we want kids to get excited about books.”