PORTLAND — Wellesley Estate families who turned out for a community cleanup got a surprise pep talk when Gov. Paul LePage showed up to cheer them on.

The governor appeared Saturday morning at the low-income housing development off Forest Avenue in Portland where he urged a crowd of about 25 children to pay attention to their educations before sending them on their cleanup tasks.

“Going to school is very, very important. You might even become governor,” said LePage.

LePage said he showed up at the cleanup day at the invitation of the children. “The kids, they asked me if I could come down. It worked out,” said LePage.

About 25 adults also helped pick up trash.

The cleanup was organized by the Portland Minority Health Program, part of the Health and Human Service’s Department’s Public Health Division, the Opportunity Alliance’s Community Partnerships for Protecting Children and Wellesley Estates Housing’s property manager, Foreside Real Estate Management.

The cleanup was held to address the more than $10,000 spent in the past 23 months to clean up litter at the development.

“Ten thousands dollars is enough for a playground,” said Shannon Rafferty-Roy, property manager.

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