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September 17, 2010

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Missouri Governor Jay Nixon Visits the MRH Early Childhood Center

Today, the MRH Early Childhood Center received some special visitors – Governor Jay Nixon and his wife Georganne Wheeler Nixon. At the end of his tour, Gov. Nixon declared “This is a really, really great school.”

The two arrived around 1:30 p.m. with members of the Governor’s staff. After introductions, ECC Principal Cyndi Hebenstreit began the tour. Members of the local media, Maplewood and Richmond Heights city officials, and MRH representatives also joined the tour.

The tour started in the new play space, which will open on Tuesday, Sept. 28. The Governor and the First Lady were charmed by the whimsical trees and many other features, and even climbed into the giant bird’s nest. (See that and other tour photos here.)

Next, the group visited the MRH chicken coop, and the Governor and Mrs. Nixon didn’t hesitate to enter the coop to visit with the chickens. Seed-to-Table Project Director Debi Gibson was there with students feeding the chickens. Later, the group collected eggs from the back of the coop.

The tour returned to the building, stopping briefly to observe a class in the library before heading over to Yvonne Wege’s kindergarten classroom to visit with the students. The tour concluded in the new preschool wing of the school, where the Governor was scheduled for a press conference.

Before the press conference got underway, preschooler Annalee Rintoul presented the Governor and First Lady a basket of goodies: eggs (from the MRH chicken coop), herbs (from the ECC gardens), and honey (from the MRH Middle School’s bee hives). Mrs. Nixon, who has a strong interest in organic gardening and who started one at the Governor’s mansion, was thrilled with the gift and said how much she’d love to come back for a visit.

During the brief press conference, which took place in the piazza, Gov. Nixon stressed the value of the interest-free bonds that were made available to school districts like MRH. With the passage of Proposition Y back in April, MRH has acquired two such interest-free bonds for projects at all the schools in the district. “What this means is that these construction projects all across your district are going to save $4.2 million in interest,” Gov. Nixon said.

The Governor concluded his remarks with praise for what the MRH School District is doing. “I just can’t tell you how excited we are to spend a few moments with you today and see excellence in the Show Me State,” he said.

Following the press conference, Dr. Hebenstreit continued to show Gov. and Mrs. Nixon around the preschool wing. The tour provided a great opportunity for the Nixons to chat informally with MRH representatives. Dr. Hebenstreit noted how engaged the couple was during the tour. “Governor Nixon and Mrs. Nixon were lovely people that seemed to be truly interested in education,” she said.

For more information, contact MRH School District at (314) 644-4400.