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DEMONSTRATION OF CLASS LAURA BUSH TOURS AREA SCHOOL.

Byline: Gina Keating Staff Writer

ALTADENA - The wife of GOP presidential candidate George W. Bush inspected two innovative social programs at an Altadena school Wednesday during a campaign swing through the area.

As first lady of Texas and a former teacher, Laura Bush has made education, especially reading, priorities she intends to keep if she and her husband move into the White House next year.

Bush, 53, made no speeches during her two-hour morning visit to Andrew Jackson Elementary School, focusing instead on learning about the school's Best Friends program and Healthy Start Center.

Jackson started the Healthy Start Center with a $400,000 grant to provide health, social and educational services to parents and students, 70 percent of whom receive free or reduced-price lunches.

In what seemed a special pleasure for her, the former librarian plunked down on a tiny chair to read ``Officer Buckle and Gloria'' to enthralled second-graders.

``You know what you have to do - you have to read every day,'' she told them at the story's end. ``It's good for your brain. You have to turn off your TVs.''

The school stop was sandwiched between a morning visit to volunteers at the 44th Assembly District campaign headquarters and a $1,000-a-plate fund-raising luncheon in Pasadena.

At the 20-minute campaign stop, Bush told about 70 volunteers crowded into the East Colorado Boulevard storefront: ``There are not that many days left - we've got to turn them out. George is going to work very hard. He's not giving up California.''

Bush worked her way around the room, posing for pictures, shaking hands and leaving a trail of admirers in her wake.

``A lovely, lovely lady,'' Arvilla Splawn of Pasadena said of Bush. ``A big word is 'class.' I told her I married a Texan, too.''

CAPTION(S):

photo

Photo:

First-grader Raquel Zarate reads an eye chart Wednesday as school official Pat Lechelt and Laura Bush tour Andrew Jackson Elementary.

Walt Mancini/Staff Photographer
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 14, 2000
Words:324
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