When you're a fifth-grader, a story about 12 royal princes getting magically transformed into geese can be pretty neat and fascinating stuff.
"I thought it was interesting when the brothers turned into those geese," Jasmine Parker, 11, a student at Hilltop Elementary School in Ferndale, said Friday.
Jasmine and her classmates plopped on the floor and sprawled in chairs while Anne Arundel County Fire Department Capt. Lisa Mayers spun the Celtic tale of "The Twelve Wild Geese" by Matt Faulkner.
The school sponsored guest reader's day in recognition of January as Maryland Reading Month. Firefighters, police officers, government officials and community leaders went into classrooms to encourage children to use their imaginations and to fall in love with books.
"The main objective of the program is the love of reading. The people that agreed to come in, many of them enjoy reading and they want to share their experience of reading with the children," said Alice Sophocleus, Hilltop's volunteer coordinator who oversaw the reading day.
Mayers certainly hooked 11-year-old Kali Chandler.
"I thought it was a good story because it was really down to the ground. I'm not really like a serious person. I like to have fun and all," Kali said.
Besides a good story, Kali said, she and her classmates got to learn bits and pieces about what a fire captain does.
They learned that Mayers has been on the job 10 years and expects to put in another 18 years before retiring. They learned that she has gone on plenty of fire calls in her career, but now is in charge of Anne Arundel's 911 center.
Mayers said she asked to read in part because "it teaches children to respect us and that we're well-spoken, educated individuals."
Each guest reader received a certificate of thanks.
Fifth-grade teacher Larry Preston said Friday's program also exposed his students to a view of women like Mayers and minorities in challenging positions.
"I think it's an outstanding motivation for the children, the girls especially," Preston said.
Pub Date: 2/02/97