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A.G. boy gets to visit with Blakeslee

Samuel Waterman has a few ideas of what he might want to be when he grows up — a doctor, a politician or perhaps the president.

“I’ve always wanted to meet politicians since I was about 6,” said Sam, who celebrated his ninth birthday Tuesday.

For his birthday, the Arroyo Grande boy told his grandparents, who have raised him since he was 3 years old, that he wanted to meet state Sen. Sam Blakeslee.

On Friday, he got his wish, plus a birthday cake and a pile of presents — including a copy of the state’s constitution and a U.S. flag that has flown over the state Capitol in Sacramento.

“What an impressive young man,” said Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo, after spending about an hour with Sam. “I’m just amazed by his wide range of interests.”

Those interests, according to Sam’s grandparents, Ian and Ariel Waterman, include chess, soccer and collecting coins and rocks. Ian Waterman said Sam has also become quite good at poker and blackjack.

“I’m so proud of him,” Ian Waterman said. “He’s our whole life.”

Soon after his arrival at Blakeslee’s office, Sam, a third-grader at the Laureate School in San Luis Obispo, presented Blakeslee with an Israeli shekel and a volcanic rock from near Mount St. Helens, then challenged him to a game of chess.

Waterman’s grandparents and Blakeslee’s staff snapped photos and laughed as Sam made some aggressive moves throughout the game.

“He’s quickly developing his side of the board,” the senator said. “This isn’t good. There should be a timer, because I’m taking longer than he is.”

In the end, Blakeslee won — but noted it was a tough game.

Blakeslee said he believed it to be the first time a young person has asked to meet him.

“For him to take the initiative that for his birthday he wanted to meet Senator Sam,” Blakeslee said, “I was so touched.”

Students at Coastal Christian School in Arroyo Grande have filled 122 shoeboxes with toys, school supplies, toiletries, hard candy, socks, hats and T-shirts this month to donate to Samaritan’s Purse, an international organization that helps children worldwide through its Operation Christmas Child project.

The students also raised $2,200 through a coin drive to pay for the shipping costs and offered the remaining money as a donation to the organization, parent Holly Leighton said.

Shipping cost $854, so $1,346 went to Samaritan’s Purse, a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization that provides emergency relief programs to victims of natural disaster, war, disease and famine, according to its website.

For more information on Coastal Christian School, go to www.coastalchristianschool.com.

Cynthia Lambert and Gayle Cuddy write the South County Beat column on alternating Wednesdays. Reach Cynthia Lambert at 781-7929. Stay updated by following @SouthCountyBeat on Twitter.

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