First Lady Anita Perry to visit students at Central Middle School

Published 7:15 pm Thursday, April 9, 2009

Apparently the students at Central Middle School have been paying attention to the ‘Save the Governor’s Mansion’ commercials.

Starting off as a suggestion from eighth grader Maegan Collins to Social Studies teacher Candice Haggard, an effort began throughout the school to help raise money for the Texas Governor’s Mansion Restoration Fund.

The residence, destroyed by fire last June, is estimated by the State Preservation Board to cost $27 million to rebuild.

“Mrs. Haggard is our little fireball at Central Middle School,” Principal Charles Jehlen said. “If you want to get anything done, all you have to do is ask her and get out of her way.”

From Collins’ suggestion to Haggard’s efforts, the school has raised a total of $585.25 to help rebuild the historical home. News of the school’s donation efforts reached First Lady Anita Perry’s office in Austin.

The First Lady will be in Nederland Tuesday at 9:30 to thank the students, 8th grade Social Studies teacher Candice Haggard and 8th grade student Maegan Collins for their support of the restoration of the Texas Governor’s Mansion.

“Central was one of only three schools in Texas to donate money for this cause,” Jehlen said. “A Title I school, Central’s students have felt the effects of Hurricanes Rita, Humberto and Ike in recent years. Mrs. Perry’s visit will give special recognition to the generosity of the Canines.”

Jehlen says the visit would not be possible without his students, who he says are a very good group of kids.

“They’re very loving and generous,” Jehlen added. “It also helps that we have a very committed faculty and community behind them.”

There will be a photo opportunity promptly at 9:30 a.m. Immediately following the photos, Mrs. Perry will talk to the Canine student body in Central’s Auditorium, about living in the Governor’s Mansion and Austin area teacher Sally Hunter will present a brief overview of the “This House is Your House” curriculum, which she began writing two days after the Mansion fire.

For more information and teaching opportunities related to the Governor’s Mansion, visit the website at


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