His term closing, governor helps school year open

September 11, 1994|By Suzanne Loudermilk | Suzanne Loudermilk,Sun Staff Writer

Gov. William Donald Schaefer was in his element. He had the attention -- and affection -- of more than 600 citizens who clapped and cheered for the head of the state.

"I wish I was running for governor," Mr. Schaefer, who is a lame duck, as he walked through the throng. "I'd get a few votes today."

Well, not exactly, Mr. Schaefer.

These citizens were half his size and 11 years old at most.

Mr. Schaefer and state school Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick were visiting Youth's Benefit Elementary School in Fallston Wednesday for the first day of school in Harford County. They toured the school's two buildings, ending their visit at a sit-on-the-floor assembly for grades three, four and five.

Before the program, they made several stops, including one at Ted Hyson's fifth-grade classroom.

"This is your teacher's first day," Mr. Schaefer told the class. "I remember the impression teachers made on me."

It was an unforgettable visit for Mr. Hyson, who said later, "It was the very first five minutes of my teaching career. It was a real treat."

The governor and state school superintendent (whose niece, Erin Grasmick, is in the class) weren't the only ones looking over Mr. Hyson's class. So were TV crews; Harford County school Superintendent Ray R. Keech; County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann; Barbara Wheeler, the county's assistant superintendent for elementary education; Principal James B. Dryden; school board President Ronald R. Eaton; and school board member Richard Daub.

L "The children were thrilled to death," the new teacher said.

The entourage continued to create a stir up and down hallways.

"What's going on?" one bewildered third-grader asked his teacher.

"Where's Miss Meoli?" said another boy, ignoring the visitors as he nervously looked for his classroom.

At the assembly, Mr. Schaefer said, "Listen to what your teachers say, what your principal says and learn -- L-E-R-N," the governor urged, pausing for effect.

The students laughed and quickly corrected the purposely misspelled word.

"You'd have been a great teacher," Mr. Dryden said afterward.

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