Digest>Archives> November 2003

A Special Lighthouse Reading


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The 17 fourth grade students in Jan McManus’ class at the Dondero School in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, had a special visitor on September 30. New Hampshire’s First Lady Denise Benson, wife of Governor Craig Benson, visited the class as part of the “Readers Become Leaders” program initiated by Barbara Bush. Benson’s visit was organized by the Seacoast Federation of Republican Women. The group’s logo is a lighthouse, so they decided to work a lighthouse theme into the program by having Benson read the book A Boy, His Grandfather, and a Lighthouse to the students. Following the reading, Jeremy D’Entremont, president of the Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse, gave a presentation on the three lighthouses in the seacoast New Hampshire region.

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The book (which is available by calling Lighthouse Depot at 1-800-758-1444) was written by Maine author William O. Thomson and his grandson J. J. Allen, who was in the fourth grade when the story was written. The story about a little boy who spends a month with his grandparents who are the keepers of a Maine lighthouse is not true, but it is based on true incidents that have happened to Maine keepers like Connie and Elson Small.

Mrs. Benson held her audience with an informal and chatty reading style. When she read a part of the book that described a hurricane flooding the keeper’s house, she said, “If I saw seaweed in my house I’m sure I wouldn’t like that and I’m sure my teenage daughters wouldn’t help clean it up.” After the reading all of the children received copies of the book, and they each got their photo taken with the state’s first lady.

Ms. McManus’ class was chosen because of her yearly lighthouse curriculum. Later in the year the students, if they prove “lighthouse worthy,” will create their own lighthouse models and research and write about their lighthouse. The course will culminate in a “Light Night” event in the school cafeteria.

This story appeared in the November 2003 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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