By Ross Cunningham
LISBON — The corporate board room and a pre-kindergarten classroom intersected in a unique way March 26.
Doug Herling, Lisbon native and president and CEO of Central Maine Power, took time out of his day to read a story to preschoolers at Lisbon Community School.
“For the last 19 years, CMP has donated children’s books to school libraries and municipal libraries across the communities we serve,” said Herling in a letter to the students’ families. The books selected were traditionally Caldecott Award winners. “As the company’s new president and CEO and as a lifelong Mainer, it will be my goal to select work by the talented and hardworking writers and illustrators who choose to call Maine home.”
Joining Herling was author Patty Farrin, who has written “The Teacup Café.” The two took turns telling the wonderful tale of a mother and daughter sharing a cup of tea together and learning about finding the beauty inside of things.
As Herling read the story, Farrin showed the beautiful drawings, created by Maine resident Hillary Davis. The four- and five-year-old children in teacher Kendra O’Connell’s class listened to the tale and talked with Farrin after the story. She shared her experience finding an old trailer and the beauty inside of it as she restored it. She encouraged them to look for the beauty inside people they meet as well.
As a graduate of Lisbon High School, Herling said he found this visit especially rewarding because O’Connell taught Herling’s daughter when she was a student at the Marion T. Morse elementary school in Lisbon Falls.
Lisbon Community School Principal Robert Kahler was honored by not only the visit but also by the gift of autographed books for all the children in the class. “Although the PTO very graciously arranges for a visiting author or artist each year, this was a wonderful added bonus,” he said.
It is a CMP tradition that the president visits a class to read each year, emphasizing the importance of reading in everyday life. March is National Reading Month, and Herling’s letter further states “Education is a priority in our giving, and we think this simple but special tradition emphasizes that commitment in a special way for children and Maine families.”
“The Teacup Café” is available on Amazon.