Butler University mascot is surprise guest for Sugar Creek Elementary reading program


Sugar Creek Elementary student Emily Hunter watches as Butler University Director of External Relations Michael Kaltenmark interacts with Blue III (also known as Trip) during a visit on Tuesday. (Kristy Deer/Daily Reporter)

Third-grade students in Angie Merritt's class at Sugar Creek Elementary School had a surprise visitor Tuesday afternoon during reading time. Butler Blue III, the bulldog mascot at Butler University, was part of Merritt's Mystery Reader program. (Kristy Deer/Daily Reporter)

NEW PALESTINE — Standing with their backs to the classroom door, unaware of the special guests walking in, the third-graders in Angie Merritt’s class at Sugar Creek Elementary School got a hint when they heard the heavy panting.

They were happily surprised and jumped for joy when they turned to see Butler Blue III, the bulldog mascot for Butler University, standing in their classroom with his handler, Michael Kaltenmark.

The two had been invited to the school to take part in Merritt’s Mystery Reader program. In an effort to make reading fun for her students, Merritt allows each of the kids in her class to invite someone special into the classroom to read a book to the students.

Third-grader Emily Hunter’s father, Ben Hunter, works at Butler University, and to his daughter’s and her classmates’ surprise, he arranged for Blue III –  or “Trip” for short, as he is also known – to visit the classroom. Kaltenmark, the director of external relations at Butler, read the book, “Good Boy Blue,” the story of the school’s mascot.

“This book has been pretty popular, so we thought having him (Blue) come here to be part of the Mystery Reader would be fun,” Emily’s dad said.

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