“Do you like green eggs and ham?
“I do not like them, Sam-I-am.
“I do not like green eggs and ham.”
This week first-graders around Clark County are celebrating the March 2 birthday of children’s book author Dr. Seuss by donning tall, striped chapeaus and tucking into a breakfast of green eggs and ham.
The tradition was started by Mark Matthias, owner of Beaches Restaurant & Bar, 21 years ago in one school. It has grown to serve 4,800 first-graders and about 3,100 parents at all 51 elementary schools.
Every weekday morning this week, 125 volunteers are feeding green eggs and ham to first-graders and their parents at every elementary school in the Vancouver and Evergreen districts, but also some first-graders in Camas, Washougal, Ridgefield and at King’s Way Christian School. In all, they’ll cook 11,850 eggs and 850 pounds of ham. When Matthias first started making the breakfast, he and his volunteers cracked real eggs. Now, to save time, they use liquid eggs and add green food coloring. The food is prepared by volunteers in the kitchens at Beaches and the Firstenburg Community Center.
Did you know?• Dr. Seuss' real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel. • Geisel was born March 2, 1904. • The book "Green Eggs and Ham" was first published in 1960. • "Green Eggs and Ham" is the fourth best-selling English-language children's book of all time, according to Publishers Weekly.
Although many first-graders in the Ellsworth Elementary School cafeteria Tuesday morning were eating their neon-green scrambled eggs, others were not so keen.
Emery Kamerath, 6, fell in the not-so-keen camp.
“She won’t touch the green eggs,” said her mom, Mel Kamerath. “She gave all her eggs to her brother.”
Finnegan Kamerath, 1, seemed fine with the arrangement. With concentration, he grasped green scrambled eggs between his thumb and index finger and brought them to his mouth with gusto.
Kruz Lyons, 6, hadn’t touched his green eggs.
“First of all, I don’t like eggs,” explained Kruz, who had eaten everything else on his plate. But he’d covered the offending neon green eggs with his napkin.
LisBeth Vasquez Gonzales, 6, was one of the brave first-graders.
“They’re good!” she said, using her fingers to pick up green eggs and pop them into her mouth.
Then the green-eggs-and-ham feast was over. Wearing a red, white and blue hat, Principal Jerry Evans stood in the cafeteria to chat with students as they walked back to their classrooms.
A first-grade boy bopped up to the principal and reported, “I ate all the eggs and the ham!”
Evans nodded and reminded the boy about the week’s Dr. Seuss activities. “Don’t forget! Tomorrow is Who-hair day.”
Wearing their colorful striped chapeaus, students followed their teachers back to their classrooms, where they each would take home a Dr. Seuss book. Students in Evergreen Public Schools received books from the Evergreen School District Foundation. Vancouver students received books donated by Riverview Community Bank and distributed by the Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools. Soon the students will be reading all by themselves:
“Say! I like green eggs and ham!
“I do! I like them, Sam-I-am!”