Georgia Governor Brian P. Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp were joined by the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) this morning to unveil a new children’s book. The book, “Hey Georgia” was inspired by First Lady Marty Kemp and authored by former NFL and University of Georgia wide receiver Malcom Mitchell who made a special appearance for the event.
“I am so thankful to Malcolm Mitchell for collaborating with me and for writing this book for Georgia students. When we first started talking about this project, Malcolm and I kept coming back to something we are both proud of for inspiration – spending college Saturday’s ‘Between the Hedges’,” said First Lady Marty Kemp. “While in college, Malcolm played for the University of Georgia’s football team, and I had the honor of being a cheerleader for our flagship University. One of the things I loved most about cheerleading was the selflessness of the sport. At its root, it is about championing others and energizing a crowd to see what is special about your team. As First Lady, my job is similar in a lot of ways, and I can say, without question, that I have the very best responsibility and team to celebrate: the great State of Georgia! We hope this book educates young learners about everything their state has to offer and brings the magic of reading, joy, and happiness to classrooms and homes all across Georgia.”
“First Lady Marty Kemp’s passion for Georgia is inspiring,” said Malcolm Mitchell. “When we decided to come together to create a story for students, we agreed that it should be encouraging and a great representation of what Georgia has to offer. I hope ‘Hey Georgia’ encourages students to find a love for reading and understand Georgia is a place where they can make their dreams come true.”
At the ceremony, Governor Kemp shared the following statement when introducing First Lady Marty Kemp:
Over the last year, the First Lady and Malcolm have collaborated on a book that celebrates reading, the State of Georgia, and the initiatives that Marty and the girls have worked tirelessly on over the last three years. I’m so thankful to have her and the girls by my side as we work together to keep Georgia the best place in the nation to live, work, and raise a family. She’s been an incredible champion for literacy, pet adoption, anti-human trafficking efforts, our agriculture industry, and so much more.
Two Georgia Pre-K classes from Heards Ferry Elementary School in Fulton County got a preview of the book this morning at the State Capitol as it was read personally by Governor Kemp, the First Lady, and Mitchell. DECAL Commissioner Amy M. Jacobs also attended the event. Those who were not able to tune in live for the unveiling of “Hey Georgia” can find a video of the event below.
“As most sports fans are aware, Malcom Mitchell is one of the top ten all time receivers at the University of Georgia who went on to play with the 2017 Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots,” said Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning Commissioner Jacobs. “We are thrilled to have him on our literacy team in Georgia, sharing the importance of early literacy for our youngest learners and learning about their home state in a fun and entertaining way. We look forward to sharing ‘Hey Georgia’ with students enrolled this fall in our 30th year of Georgia’s Pre-K Program.”
About Malcolm Mitchell
Mitchell is a native of Valdosta, Georgia. After graduating from UGA with a degree in Communications in 2015, he was drafted by the New England Patriots. Among Mitchell’s numerous awards and accomplishments both on and off the field, he considers discovering a love of reading his greatest achievement. Initially, reading was a challenge; however, through perseverance, books became an avenue for expanding his curiosity, creativity, and learning. Through literacy Malcolm has authored and published children’s books, created a youth literacy initiative called Read with Malcolm, and established Share the Magic Foundation to transform lives through literacy.
The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning is responsible for meeting the child care and early education needs of Georgia’s children and their families. It administers the nationally recognized Georgia’s Pre-K Program; licenses child care centers and home-based child care; administers Georgia’s Childcare and Parent Services (CAPS) Program and federal nutrition programs; and manages Quality Rated, Georgia’s community-powered child care rating system.
The department also houses the Head Start State Collaboration Office, distributes federal funding to enhance the quality and availability of child care, and works collaboratively with Georgia child care resource and referral agencies and organizations throughout the state to enhance early care and education. For more information, go to www.decal.ga.gov.