Texas First Lady visits East Texas

By Donna McCollum - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Texas First Lady Anita Perry is on a campaign. This time not for her husband, but for the Governor's Mansion.

"It's a beautiful, white house," she told TJR Elementary fourth graders in Nacogdoches.

The first lady is telling them about a new curriculum that will engage them in the Governor's Mansion's restoration project.

"The new lessons are called, 'This House Is Your House' and it was created and written by a very special Texan," Perry explained.

She was referring to an Austin fourth grade teacher, named Sally Hunter who's old family letters recall a day spent with Mrs. Sam Houston and emphasize the Governor's Mansion's historic importance to all Texans.

"If it were just a house where the governor happens to live, that wouldn't have as much meaning," shared Hunter. "But the fact that its been a central part of Texas history for so many years, they can understand that."

With a sneak peek of the curriculum, TJR students are already getting the message.

"This is a historic site. Many governors of Texas have lived in this house. If we didn't fix it we wouldn't have the historic place anymore," said Trevon McCowin, a 4th grader at TJR.

Hunter is skilled sending the message out to fourth graders. Mrs Perry is hoping her connection will send a message to the state legislature.

"We're waiting on the dollars from the legislature to appropriate. We hope we're going to get what we need," explained Mrs Perry.

The First Lady wants to connect Texans with historic places everywhere, whether it be in Austin or in their hometown. That's why Mrs Perry agreed, at the urging of the Daughters of the American Revolution Nacogdoches Chapter, to have her photograph made at the historic Old University Building, which is located on the TJR campus. The State Society of the DAR is selling a member designed broach of the State Capitol for the State Capitol.

"We have raised $50,000 already," shared Lynn Young, Regent for the Texas Society of the DAR.

History is emphasized at TJR, in part due to its historic surroundings. The fourth graders will be in seventh grade by the time the Governor's Mansion is ready for visitors. If they visit, they'll enter with increased knowledge about the house that is every Texans' house.

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