Gilchrist visits Houghton Elementary

(Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette) Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist reads to Houghton Elementary School first-graders Monday. Pictured are J.T. Swetich, Jensen Bard, Alivia Baril, Alex Bukovich, Zander Wall and Vivian Mattson.

HOUGHTON — Houghton Elementary School first-graders had a storytime to remember Monday morning.

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist visited the school, reading to students and meeting with administrators.

“We value public education above all else, and so anytime I come to a community, I take whatever chance I can to be able to meet with educators, and also to spend time with kids and make sure that they know that we as state leaders support them — support the kids, support the professionals making public education the best it can be,” he said.

Gilchrist quizzed students on their Halloween costumes and their favorite candies. He also challenged the students to read as many books as they could this week. He said he would do the same with his twins, also first-graders.

During his visit, Gilchrist read “Trick or Treat in Michigan: A Halloween Adventure in the Great Lakes State.” When it got to Lansing, Gilchrist told the class about the state capital and the work done there.

(Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette) Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist stands next to Houghton Elementary School Principal Anders Hill so students can see who is taller.

“Being the governor means you get to be the leader of the state, meaning that people went and voted for you to be governor,” he said, “and our governor’s name is Gretchen Whitmer.”

“And then it’s you,” one student said.

“You’re the first kid who actually knew what the lieutenant governor did in first grade,” Gilchrist replied.

At students’ demand, Gilchrist squared off with Principal Anders Hill to determine who was taller. (At 6-foot-8, Gilchrist won.)

Before reading to students, Gilchrist met with Kramer, all three principals and a Michigan Education Association representative to discuss education issues.

“We want to make sure that we have the educational support so that our students can succeed, and they can be ready at every step, whether it’s coming into our school at kindergarten or being prepared to graduate,” Kramer said.

Superintendent Doreen Kramer said the visit was a good thing for the district.

“It made us feel like we’re connected and that we have a voice here,” she said.