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Brookhaven, Lincoln County students celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday

The birthdays of two important people were celebrated at Mamie Martin Elementary Friday — Theodor Geisel and Autumn Banks.

Geisel is best known as Dr. Seuss, the author of more than 60 children’s books like “Horton Hears a Who” and “The Cat in the Hat.”

Autumn is the daughter of Capt. Shane Banks, a Brookhaven firefighter who wore a tall, red striped hat and drove a big, shiny red firetruck to her school to surprise her.

The grinning kindergartner in the pink tutu and “diva on fleek” T-shirt turned 6.

Dr. Seuss would have been 108.

Mamie Martin was just one of the schools in Brookhaven and Lincoln County that celebrated the National Education Association’s annual program, Read Across America.

Enterprise Elementary held their party Thursday. The high school drama team hit the highlights of some of Seuss’ books, recreating scenes from their favorites. The 50-minute play was the culmination of Enterprise’s weeklong celebration.

All week the students and teachers dressed up in Dr. Seuss-themed outfits, and the second-, third- and fourth-grade hall was decorated with Dr. Seuss imagery. High school seniors read to elementary students Wednesday.

“We just try to work together to make things fun. We’re not naive. We know that not every child always enjoys coming to school. But in second, third and fourth grade, we can lay a foundation to encourage our kids to love school,” said fourth-grade teacher Kari Smith. ”That’s why Dr. Seuss is so fun. He uses nonsense words and teaches kids to get lost in their imagination when they read. He helps them to see what they’re reading in their mind.”

At West Lincoln and Brookhaven elementary schools, it was parents, pastors and elected officials who read to the students Friday.

Lincoln County Superintendent Mickey Myers flipped pages of “Horton Hears a Who” to Jennifer Case’s first-grade class. The students wore tall handmade stove pipe hats in red and white stripes.

Myers, who attended West Lincoln as a student 40 years ago, gifted the class with tubes of bubble soap and wands and reminded them about the famous line in the book, “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

“Every time you see a bubble, I want you to think of that,” he said.

Autumn Banks loves bubbles, but she loves books, too, her mother, Jacqueline Banks said.

That’s why when the girl discovered she shared a special day with one of her favorite authors, she knew exactly what she wanted for her birthday party — her dad to bring his firetruck to school.

They let her think it wasn’t happening, then she sashayed out of Kellye Sicks’ classroom with her friends and was greeted at the backdoor of the school with something big and red.

“It was such a big surprise,” Banks said.

Autumn’s dad wore the “Cat in the Hat” chapeau and passed out Pixy Stix from a red bag.

“I’ll give a snack from this sack on my back,” he told them and immediately drew giggles from the youngsters crowded around him.

Now that Autumn has discovered the connection she shares with Geisel, she’ll probably want the party to become a tradition.

“I hope not,” her mom said.