Jill Biden turns Valentine’s Day into lesson for 2nd graders

Darlene Superville
Associated Press

Washington — Jill Biden has turned Valentine's Day into a lesson for second graders.

The first lady and longtime teacher had Washington elementary school students design Valentine's Day hearts that are hanging in the East Wing of the White House.

Twenty second graders from Aiton Elementary School and their teacher, Alejandro Diasgranados, visited the White House on Monday for a tour and to see their “heart work” on display, Biden's office said. It will be the first time many of these students have been to the White House.

A Valentine's heart and depictions of President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden's pet dog Commander, left, and cat Willow, stand on the North Lawn of the White House in celebration of Valentine's Day, Monday, Feb. 14, 2022, in Washington.

The first lady will also take the group to the North Lawn to see her Valentine's Day installation: hand-painted, wooden artwork in the shapes of the Bidens’ puppy, Commander, and cat, Willow. There's also a separate heart-shaped cut-out inscribed with 1 Corinthians 13:13, “Three things will last forever — faith, hope and love — and the greatest of these is love.”

The students cheered loudly as their school bus pulled up to the mansion. Masked and bundled up against February's cold weather, a White House aide greeted them as they got off. Commander barked as they entered the building.

“That's the paparazzi!” shouted one boy as he pointed toward journalists who had gathered to witness the arrival.

Students in both of Diasgranados' second grade classes designed two Valentine's Day hearts using a template and instructions provided by the first lady's office.

Each student was asked to use words that reflect her values in their designs: compassion, courage, family, gratitude, healing, hope, kindness, love, peace, strength and unity.

The hearts have been strung together and are hanging in a window just inside the entrance to the East Wing, along with three large red hearts placed on the floor that say “hope,” “healing” and “love," according to a photograph provided by the first lady's office.

She signed the “healing” heart with “Love, Jill.”

Diasgranados is Washington’s 2021 Teacher of the Year. Biden, a veteran community college professor, met Diasgranados last October when she and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona hosted the 2020 and 2021 Teachers of the Year at the White House.