Rewarding readers

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September 14, 2010

When former first lady Laura Bush swept through Peoria Monday, a group of Bradley students joined some 500 school children for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity—a personal address right in their home city by an international figure.

For the kids, it was a remarkable reward for completing U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock’s summer reading program.  Schock, a Bradley alum, challenged students to read 15 books over summer vacation. 

Seven Bradley students, most of whom held summer internships in Schock’s office, helped facilitate the high-profile event at Peoria’s RiverPlex Recreation and Wellness Center.

Manufacturing engineering senior Chad Miller said Bush embodied his notions of what a first lady would be like.

“They let us go in and listen to Laura when she spoke.  She seemed like a really cool, down to earth lady.  Seeing her in person, especially in Peoria, was a terrific experience,” said Miller.

The former first lady read “Read All About It!,” a book she co-authored with her daughter. She also took time to answer questions from the students. 

“You could tell she was very dedicated to her mission of teaching and promoting literacy,” said junior communications major Gabrielle Balzell.