ELLERBE — State Sen. Gene McLaurin got the chance to sit at eye level with first grade students at Mineral Springs Elementary School in Ellerbe.
McLaurin made a trip to the school to visit with the four first grade classes. He spent his time there explaining to the children who he was, reading to them and answering numerous questions from some very inquisitive students.
McLaurin is traveling to schools in the 25th district to meet with the children and to show his support for education.
“Education is at the top on my priority list,” McLaurin said.
McLaurin gave some background information to the kids on himself — explaining that he, too, is from Richmond County. McLaurin spent 15 years of his political career as mayor of Rockingham before he ran for the 25th district in the North Carolina senate.
McLaurin started off by discussing his time as mayor and his responsibilities in representing the people of Rockingham. McLaurin encouraged the students to take turns at guessing how long McLaurin was mayor. A series of numbers were called out and some got pretty close, but one number caused McLaurin to pause.
“100 years!” Gavin Fowler, 6, of Sherrie Quick’s class yelled out as his guess.
McLaurin laughed at the boy’s guess and asked “Do you really think I’m over 100 years old?”
The boy shrugged his shoulders with a cheeky grin on his face.
McLaurin went on to explain his position now as a senator and what he does as a senator.
Teacher Amy Terry informed McLaurin that some of the children thought he could do whatever he wanted as a politician.
McLaurin shook his head as he explained to them that that wasn’t the case at all.
“My bosses are the people I represent,” McLaurin said. “Your moms, dads, grandparents and even your teachers are my boss.”
The children laughed as Terry rubbed in the fact that McLaurin worked for her.
One highlight from McLaurin’s visit was his time spent reading to the class. He read a book entitled “Is There Really a Human Race?” written by Jamie Lee Curtis.
While telling the story, McLaurin emphasized the point in the story that each child could make the world a better place by being kind and helpful to one another.
During his visit, education was McLaurin’s main topic of choice. He explained how important it was for the students to stay in school and get an education.
Ava Thompson, 6, of Lauren Bailey’s class nodded her head and said, “you need to learn so you can get a good job.”
At the end, McLaurin allowed the students to finally ask him questions. Thompson’s hand shot up in the air as she asked a very important question — “what do you do to help us?”
“I try and help teachers,” McLaurin said. “Teachers are very important not only to you, but to the community as well. I try to give them what they need so that they can continue to be the great teachers they are.”