First Mike reads to Trafton students
By ADAM RUDNICK
Arlington Times Reporter
May 25, 2010 · Updated 1:26 PM
ARLINGTON — Reading “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs,” to a group of Trafton students, Mike Gregoire paused mid-sentence.
“Now this case — were you involved in this, Steve?” he said to Steve Day, Washington State Patrol officer and his personal driver.
The children all turned their heads around to shoot glances at Day, who sat at the back of the classroom smiling.
Gregoire spent nearly just as much time asking students questions and talking about his own life in Olympia as he did reading the book during a recent trip to Trafton.
First Mike, husband of Gov. Chris Gregoire, made a stop at Trafton on Tuesday, May 18, to read the alternate take on “The Three Little Pigs” fairy tale.
Gregoire read the illustrated book to a group of kindergartners, first- and second-graders and a second group of third- through fifth-graders.
“This is one of my favorite duties,” said Gregoire — a long-time advocate of children’s literacy who has visited schools in all 39 Washington counties. “It’s not a duty — it’s an honor.”
After reading the story, written by Jon Scieszka and illustrated by Lane Smith, Gregoire fielded questions from the students pertaining to his life in Olympia.
“Why are you called First Mike?” asked one Trafton student who had politely raised her hand.
Gregoire hesitated, thinking.
“Well, then my title is actually First Gentleman,” he said, referring to his status — husband of Gov. Gregoire. “After talking with my daughters, we agreed that First Mike is a better title.”
Another question posed to Gregoire asked the First Gentleman if the Gregoire family had any pets.
Gregoire mentioned the family dog, “Trooper,” a Shiba Inu, much to the delight of the students.
“He looks like a fox,” he said, and asked the children if they had family pets at home. “When I’m gone, I know that there are people at home who are taking care of him.”
During his visit, Gregoire also received a commissioned print of a painting of Trafton School by teacher Todd McLaughlin. The painting was done by a Trafton parent.
Gregoire left the copy of the book he read for staff to put in the school library.
The visit to Trafton was Gregoire’s second — he last visited the school in 2006.
Principal Ed Aylesworth said that having Gregoire visit the school was a great experience for the students.
“He’s a great story-teller,” Aylesworth said. “There was a lot of great interaction with the kids. He’s got that sparkle in his eyes when he talks with kids. It was neat to watch him.”Contact Arlington Times Reporter Adam Rudnick at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-659-1300 Ext. 5056.