It was no easy feat for State Rep. Don Hogan, R-St. Simons Island, to get the pre-K class at St. Simons Elementary to focus on the story he came to read.

Every few words he read from “Behind the Little Red Door,” a children’s book written by Zac Brown Band guitarist and celebrated Georgia author Coy Bowles, a student spoke up with a question or comment for Hogan.

But Hogan didn’t seem to mind.

“I’d like to have this opportunity every day, to see these young children and the enthusiasm they have,” he said afterward.

Hogan visited St. Simons Elementary on Thursday in recognition of Georgia Pre-K Week, which celebrates the state’s 26-year-old pre-K program, launched in 1992 by Gov. Zell Miller to provide voluntary, free preschool to Georgia’s 4-year-olds.

State leaders across Georgia took time this week to meet with pre-K student and support Georgia Pre-K Week, in order to promote early education in the state.

Rep. Jeff Jones read to pre-K students Tuesday at Sterling Elementary School.

“In the legislature, we try to do everything we can for education, and we’ve done a lot of funding for pre-K to support the programs,” Hogan said. “Gov. Deal, every bit of money he could come up with went to education. He was an educator, and his wife Mrs. Deal was a school teacher. She visited schools all over.”

The lottery-funded state pre-K program has served nearly 1.6 million children since the program’s inception.

“To see these children in pre-K is just great,” Hogan said.

Throughout his reading, Hogan took the opportunity to share some pieces of wisdom. He also told the students that he had two children attend St. Simons Elementary, before the state pre-K program began, and that his wife once taught there.

“We didn’t have pre-K back then,” he said. “We just had first grade. Pre-K has come along since my children were in school.”

It was a privilege, he said, to read to the young students.

“Thank you very much,” Hogan said. “It’s been a delight for me to meet y’all and be with you.”

More from this section

Business leaders in a number of Georgia industries in the last several years held to a common refrain — there are good jobs to be found, but not enough qualified people to fill them. State Senate study committees addressing that and the legal costs of doing business in Georgia wrapped up Tue…