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Judge Kistler, BEA students spread Groundhog Day spirit

Centre County Judge celebrates Groundhog Day at Wingate Elementary

Centre County President Judge Thomas King Kistler spent Groundhog Day at Wingate Elementary School. He visits Helen Showers' fourth-grade class every year and reads to students.
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Centre County President Judge Thomas King Kistler spent Groundhog Day at Wingate Elementary School. He visits Helen Showers' fourth-grade class every year and reads to students.

No one would have mistaken Thomas King Kistler for Punxsutawney Phil on Tuesday afternoon, but he still made an effort to bring his best groundhog.

From the shoulders up, the Centre County president judge dressed like the rodent and made his way to Helen Showers’ fourth-grade class at Wingate Elementary School.

It was all part of an annual event he participates in with Showers on Groundhog Day.

Showers said 25 fourth-grade students made crafts, and then spent time interacting with Kistler.

He read “Double Trouble Groundhog Day” — a children’s book about twin groundhogs who take their grandfather’s place in forecasting the weather for Groundhog Day. He then held a question-and-answer session with the students about Groundhog Day.

“I don’t want the courthouse to be introduced as a bad place, so I like to do whatever I can in the community,” Kistler said.

Kistler said he’s been visiting Showers’ class for at least seven years.

He said he started out reading to students in class at Wingate as part of the Bellefonte Kiwanis Club.

“I think it just so happened that I visited her class on Groundhog Day some years ago, and it kind of stuck,” Kistler said.

But it’s not just a holiday he participates in with local youth.

Kistler said people at the Centre County Courthouse, where he works by day, also participate.

“We encourage people to wear brown,” he said, as he wore a brown suit, and a tie with groundhogs on it. “It’s just some fun.”

Britney Milazzo: 814-231-4648, @M11azzo

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