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April 17, 2013

A stately welcome: Karen Pence, Indiana’s first lady, visits local schools

JEFFERSONVILLE —

Local officials welcomed the state’s first lady with a tour of their facility and a bouquet of flowers, leaving her impressed with their hospitality and poise.

But she didn’t keep them too long. They had to get back to reading lessons. 

Karen Pence paid a visit to three schools in Clark County on Tuesday. Her visits to Maple Elementary School in Jeffersonville, Clarksville High School and Henryville Elementary School are a part of her tour to schools all across the Hoosier state.

Pence said during the tours, she’s seeing a common thread in what schools are trying to do for children.

“I think what I’m learning more and more as I go around this state is that every school has their own way that they try to build good citizens,” Pence said. “It seems to be a theme that I keep coming across. It’s character traits and responsibility, but really it all comes down to being good citizens. That’s really something I’m listening to as I go around the state and might be able to build on that and expand on that.”

At Maple Elementary, she was greeted by some of the school’s student council members. Pence said she was impressed with the amount of detail they gave in the answers to her questions.

Pence has a background as a teacher in elementary schools and as an art teacher.

Lauraetta Starks, principal of the school, said she hopes Pence’s visit to reading and art classes at her school will give her an idea of how much teachers and administrators care about student education.

She said she hopes she goes back to her husband, Governor Mike Pence, with a report of how successful students are in Clark County.

“I would just like for her to emphasize the fact that she saw we’re doing a great job here at our school,” Starks said. “I hope she saw the work that the teachers are doing, that we care about the children and that we’re interested mainly in increasing student achievement.”

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07_xx_NAHS_theater_01.w.jpg

Amy Harpenau is the new director of theater arts at New Albany High School. Harpenau is a 2007 graduate of Floyd Central High School, has appeared on stage at both high schools and worked in theaters since she graduated college.

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