Franklin Elementary students played a part in Kristin Cooper’s transition into a new role in life when she became first lady of North Carolina when her husband, Roy Cooper, was elected as governor.
On Friday, she returned the favor for the Franklin students.
“They were my first house tour,” said Kristin Cooper of a group of Franklin students on a field trip to Raleigh soon after she and her husband occupied the Governor’s Mansion.
“I spontaneously gave them a tour.” Cooper laughs and adds, “That was before I figured out the rules.”
On Friday, it was the Franklin fifth graders who were facing a momentous milestone in their life, and Cooper traveled to Mount Airy to wish them well as they moved on to a new stage of their lives.
“All of you have this middle school thing,” she assured the students in her remarks as guest speaker at their graduation.“You will have great adventures. Go out there and get them.”
Cooper told the children and their families that she was the child of an artist and a Vietnam veteran, that she was raised in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and came to North Carolina to attend Campbell Law School. She practiced law as a staff attorney in both Oklahoma and North Carolina, focusing on the needs of children, and providing them with a safe, nurturing, healthy environment. Foster care, hunger and were important areas of her work.
Cooper said that the arts and nature were twin passions of hers, which together allow children to play and think creatively. She has served two terms on the board of the North Carolina Arts Council.
Cooper has also raised three daughters, all of whom graduated from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a fact that brought a round of applause from the audience.
After addressing the graduating class, Cooper greeted each of the 102 students individually as they stepped forward to receive their certificates of completion, and congratulated them on their achievements, as announced by their teachers.
Special awards were presented to students who had served on the student council and as its officers, other awards were given out, the graduates sang two songs, and a faculty choir sang another.
Franklin principal Jodi Southern brought the ceremony to a close with a customized reading from Dr. Seuss’s “Oh, the places you will go.”
At which point, they did go.
Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.