Thursday, March 15, 2007
Galena welcomes community readers
By SUE WATSON
Students at Galena School were treated Friday to a morning parade of adult readers drawn from the community.
One extraordinary reader was James Cooper of Holly Springs who is seeing impaired. Using his fingers, Cooper read his story from braille sheets he prepared on his brailler.
Sight impaired as a child, Cooper underwent cataract surgery at 3 to partially restore his vision. Born in Atoka, Tenn., he attended the school for the blind in Nashville where he earned his GED diploma.
He is associate minister at the Church of Christ on Hernando Road and a frequent reader on Dr. Seuss Day at area schools. He has read for children at the Holly Springs Primary School, ICS Head Start and Mt. Pleasant Head Start.
Cooper, who will be 65 this Thursday, gave students an exercise to help them motivate themselves when doubts draw near.
“I can, I can, I can. I will, I will, I will,” he repeated with the students. “I want you to do the best you can in school. Be an ‘A’ student if you can, or a ‘B’ student, but don’t go below that.”
Cooper said he wants to encourage young people to stay in school and get an education.
“Don’t be playing around. Be serious about what you are doing because you are going to need it,” he said.
Cooper said he wants to show people, if someone else has a disability, they can still get an education.
“Whatever job a visually impaired person can do, they can do it well, if given a chance,” he said.
Cooper also tries to remind people to have their eyes checked for diseases like glaucoma.
“That’s because it’s nothing to play around with,” he said.
He is married to Barbara Cooper and father of nine children and numbers of grandchildren.
“Children are a part of my life,” he added.
Those who read for students Friday included Barry Burleson, Lexine Smith, Charles McArthur, Eleanor McArthur, Fred Carlisle, Don Randolph, R.C. Anderson, George Zinn III, Jane Myers, James Cooper, Adam Stone, Pattie Pritchard, Steve Farese, Jim Stanley, Chase Haney, Chuck Thomas, Bennie Braswell and Sherry Page.
Sabrina Holley, literacy coach, coordinated the event.
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