Hopey’s Storied Career Leaves Kids Spellbound

Merrimack President Christopher Hopey had young students at the Professional Center for Child Development in Andover stomping their feet, clapping and cheering during his appearance as a guest storybook reader this month.

Hopey read to children in the center’s therapeutic preschool program and the developmental day school. The center serves students with complex medical profiles, said Executive Director Chris Hunt.

“We thought he’d be a great role model for the kids — a leader,” said the center’s parent liaison, Ellen Waddill.

Hopey’s voice was appealing to the students, said Mary Jurek ’90, the lead teacher in classroom 3. “They really like hearing a deep, man’s voice,” she said.

The president immersed himself in the classroom and found ways to enrapture the students by adlibbing the stories, stomping his feet with them and spinning in his chair to animate the stories.

“I just like how he interacted with the kids,” said registered nurse Lisa Starkweather.

After reading a few books, Hopey toured the facility with Hunt and members of his staff.

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