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Governor's wife visits Hudson schools

Wisconsin first lady Jessica Doyle visited two Hudson schools last Thursday as part of a two-day tour highlighting education and tourism in the western part of the state.

At Hudson High School, she visited a senior advanced placement literature and composition class taught by Jill Tammen and a freshman English class taught by Laura Johnson.

Doyle then traveled to Hudson Middle School, where she met with sixth- and seventh-grade students in world studies classes taught by Tim Halvorson and Gayle Hoaglund.

At the high school, Doyle promoted her online book club, Read On Wisconsin (

Each month, Doyle, a former teacher and learning coordinator, recommends a book for young people in five age categories to read. Intermediate, middle school and high school students are encouraged to share their thoughts about the books on the Read On Wisconsin web log.

In Ms. Tammen's literature class, Doyle highlighted the October and November book selections for high schoolers - "Heaven" by Angela Johnson and "Code Talker" by Joseph Bruchac.

The story about a 16-year-old Navajo boy who becomes a code talker for the U.S. military during World War II was especially meaningful for her, Doyle said, because she and Gov. Jim Doyle worked with the Navajo people in Arizona in the early 1970s.

Responding to a question from Doyle about the strengths of Hudson High School, students cited an involved student body, a good learning environment, excellent teachers, the number of committed Christian students and an abundance of opportunities to participate in sports, music and other activities.

Doyle encouraged the students not to treat their senior year as a "throw-away" year, but to continue to apply themselves academically. She said students in China and India don't have an "easy" year, implying that Wisconsin seniors shouldn't either if they want to keep pace with students in those countries.

At the middle school, Doyle talked with students about what they were studying in their world studies classes and promoted her online geography game, Where in Wisconsin is Jessica Doyle?

The Web site ( provides clues about a Wisconsin community that the first lady has or will visit, and invites youngsters to name the community to be eligible for a prize. The site is sponsored by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism.

Hudson School Board President Annette Cook, who accompanied Doyle on her visits to the Hudson classrooms, described her as "very engaging."

"She enjoyed her conversations with the students," Cook said.

Doyle worked as an educator for 35 years before her husband was elected governor. Her last public school job was as learning coordinator at Cherokee Middle School in Madison. She has taught grades four through high school.

Randy Hanson can be reached at

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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