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Learning Disabled Student Receives Special Visit From President With AM-Bush Bjt

April 14, 1989

UNION TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) _ Gina Marie Sisco has to work harder than other sixth-graders to learn to read and write, but her work paid off Thursday when President Bush took her up on an invitation to visit her school.

Bush stopped his motorcade near the Hamilton School on his way to a conference of educators at nearby Union High School. Gina Marie, who was among more than 400 flag-waving students watching the motorcade, got a presidential hug and some words of encouragement.

In a letter to the president, Gina Marie had invited Bush to the school to see how the district helps its disadvantaged students.

″I am a resource room student for math and English. I have a learning disability. There are many kids like me and we all have to work harder than most kids,″ she wrote.

Bush later referred to his unannounced encounter when he spoke to students from Union and Paramus schools and national educators.

″It’s excellence and it’s hard work,″ he said of her studies.

″It was a very moving experience for the youngster; she was crying,″ said Guy Barbato, assistant superintendent of schools for Union. ″It couldn’t have happened to a nicer youngster.″

Barbato said Gina Marie, who since kindergarten has had a learning disability in math and English, decided on her own to write the president and was encouraged by teachers at her school. Barbato said he expects her to succeed in school.

″I think she’ll not only function normally, but because of her attitude she’s going to be successful in her future life,″ Barbato said.

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