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Area state legislators, Junior League celebrate Ga. Pre-K Week

Rynders, Powell and junior league members read to four-year-old students.

State Rep. Ed Rynders, R-Leesburg, prepares to read to a group of Lee County Pre-K students Thursday morning.

State Rep. Ed Rynders, R-Leesburg, prepares to read to a group of Lee County Pre-K students Thursday morning.

ALBANY, Ga. — State Representatives Ed Rynders and Jay Powell and representatives of the Junior League of Albany helped celebrate the 20th anniversary of Georgia's Pre-K Program on Thursday by reading to gatherings of four-year-old students.

Ryders read "Pete The Cat" at Lee County Pre-K, Powell read at The Baconton Center and the Junior League members read to children at First United Methodist Church.

Around the state, attention is turned to tens of thousands of Georgia's youngest children in recognition of the important work they are doing to prepare for school success.

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State Court Judge-elect and Junior League of Albany member Victoria Darrisaw reads to a group of Pre-K students at First United Methodist Church Thursday morning.

In Albany, the Junior League of Albany visited a Pre-K at First United Methodist Church where Judge Victoria Darrisaw read a book to two classes of students.

"We're celebrating the 20th year of Pre-K in Georgia by reading to students and showing them the importance of reading and getting a good education," Darrisaw said.

MOBILE USERS: Click here to watch the video of Darrisaw reading to students on your mobile device or tablet.

Marci Prisant, the corresponding secretary for the Junior League of Albany echoed Darrisaw's comments.

"I hope by Judge Darrisaw reading to the kids today and the work other junior leagues are doing that it instills in them a love of reading and a love of learning," Prisant said.

This week marks the state's second official of Pre-K Week, which is sponsored by Voices for Georgia's Children and its Pre-K partners. Rynders, Powell and the JL members were just three of nearly 140 state officials and locals who will visit some of the approximately 3,800 Pre-K classrooms located in all 159 counties in Georgia.

"We are so honored that Representative Rynders is taking time away from his demanding schedule to spend some time with us," said Jan Duke, director of Lee County PreK. "We need leaders like him to be vocal about the positive effects that early childhood education programs have on the future success of the child, and of our state."

After reading, Rynders and Powell toured the respective facilities, spoke with the staff, and were able to get an up-close look at the many ways that the center is supporting early learning.

"Georgia's Pre-K is an exceptional education program that serves 84,000 four year olds throughout the state," said Pat Willis, Executive Director of Voices for Georgia's Children, a child advocacy organization. "Pre-K is a milestone in a child's early education. Studies show that early education programs for children age birth to five - in all income groups - will have long-term impact on a child's education. We are proud that Georgia's Pre-K is making a difference in the lives of so many of our youngest learners, preparing them for future success in school and in life."

State senator Freddie Powell-Sims is scheduled to read Friday morning at Albany State University's Pre-K Center.