FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 27, 2007
(LAREDO) -- Students at Senator Judith Zaffirini Elementary School (ZES) started the school year today (Monday) with a visit from their namesake. Continuing a tradition she started when the school was founded in 1999, Senator Judith Zaffirini welcomed students at the entrance and presented each a pencil imprinted with her name and the seal of the Texas Senate.
She arrived at 6:30 a.m. and stood by the front door until the last child arrived two hours later.
"I love meeting the students on their first day of classes," Senator Zaffirini said. "It's an opportunity to reassure them, wish them well and offer to be of assistance. Because ZES offers classes from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade, many are accompanied by their parents. Being there also affords me an opportunity to assure them that their children are in good hands."
Among the senator's memorabilia exhibited near the entrance is a black velvet hat with a metallic gold tassel. "It's part of my doctoral regalia," she explained. "I gave it to the students in 1999 to symbolize my challenge that they stay in school, go to college and earn a post-graduate degree."
The senator also has challenged ZES students to strive for perfect attendance and to stay away from gangs, drugs, alcohol and tobacco.
She presented the ZES library with a copy of the centennial edition of "The Annotated Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum.
"It's always my pleasure to add to the library's collection," she said. "I especially enjoy interacting with the children, whether to chat or to motivate them or to read to them."
When he was 12, her son, Carlos Jr., gave the Zaffirini library his collection of more than 500 age-appropriate books.
Last year she presented each student with a copy of her motivational children's book, "If Judy Pappas Can Do It, Anybody Can!" Published by Laredo National Bank/BBVA Group, the gift edition won first place statewide and second place nationally in a communications contest sponsored by the Press Women of Texas.
The senator said she plans to visit ZES throughout the year and will attend their Christmas program.
SENATOR JUDITH ZAFFIRINI, D-LAREDO, greets students at Senator Judith Zaffirini Elementary School (ZES) at the start of the 2007-08 school year. Senator Zaffirini presents each student with a pencil imprinted with her name and the seal of the Texas Senate.