Hannibal, MO – The Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum is excited to announce it will be assuming sponsorship of the Tom and Becky Program.
Started in 1956, the Tom and Becky Program was created by the Hannibal Area Chamber of Commerce as a contest to select a Tom Sawyer and a Becky Thatcher to greet 1,200 students coming to Hannibal on a Mark Twain tour sponsored by KETC-TV out of St. Louis. On May 5, 1956 Chris Winkler and Perva Lou Smith were crowned as Hannibal’s first Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher before the 1,200 St. Louis children. This developed into an annual program that continues to select a Tom and Becky each July 4th to represent Hannibal as Goodwill Ambassadors.
“We are looking forward to continuing this premier program which means so much for Hannibal and offers a rich experience for Hannibal children,” remarked Henry Sweets, executive director of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum. “Melissa Cummins is continuing as the Tom and Becky Coordinator. We are just now ready to start this year’s Tom and Becky selection process and student families will be receiving notices soon.”
The Hannibal Area Chamber of Commerce remains supportive of the program. “The Hannibal Chamber fully believes in the value of the Tom and Becky Program both for our community and for the young people involved”, said HACC Executive Director McKenzie Disselhorst. “We believe the Museum is the perfect fit for the program and look forward to working together to ensure continuity and the success of the Tom and Becky Program for years to come.”