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Centenarian reads to kids on school's 100th day of classes
Feb 04

Texarkana Gazette

ASHDOWN, Ark. (AP) _ Students at Ashdown Elementary had a century-old treat on their 100th day of school, as 100-year-old Lessie B. Green took time to read them a story.

She read ``The 100th Day of School'' by Angela Shelf Medearis to the group of excited children, some of whom were dressed in their best granny and grandpa gear, complete with silver hair, curlers and painted-on wrinkles.

After Green, who's also known as ``Dear,'' read the story, Principal Teresa Wake told the students that Green had to walk to school because they didn't have a car and that her family also didn't have a television.

``No TV. I wonder what she did for fun,'' she said to the Texarkana Gazette.

``Did you play outside when you were little?'' she asked Green, who nodded her head. ``That's what she did. She played outside. She didn't have any technology at all. She didn't have iPads, iPhones, she didn't have computers. They didn't have telephones. They didn't have TV. Times have changed a lot.''

Green went to Richmond School and then to Ashdown in the eighth grade.

``We went to school (back when) when you finished the eighth grade, you had finished high school in those days, you know,'' she said. ``We went to Richmond and then I went to Ashdown School. That was junior college back in the day.''

Her daughter, Brenda Tate, who teaches first grade at Ashdown Elementary, made the centennial connection after taking a walk recently and thinking about her mother and the 100th day of school.

``I was walking and when I finished, I thought tomorrow is the 100th day of school and my mother is 100,'' she said. ``So I decided to come and ask her to read to my class. And then it became the whole school. When I was walking, it just came to me that she was 100 and it's better to let the children see that a person 100 years old can read.''

Tate said she remembered her mother going to school at night to get her GED.

``I remember because she would work all day and I would stay at home with my dad, and my neighbor would come pick her up, she and her sister, and they would come to Ashdown to school,'' she said. ``And so they finished eighth and went on until they finished. She would do that every evening after work. So that was something just special to me to see my mama continue her education.''

Tate also helps take care of her mother, who uses a walker but remains active in the community and church events.

When asked if she had fun reading to the children, Green said with a smile and a laugh, ``Yes, I enjoyed it.''


Information from: Texarkana Gazette, http://www.texarkanagazette.com

By The Associated Press, Copyright 2019