A 'gentle and unassuming' tutor
KWAME HOLMAN: Meanwhile, in Washington, the National Portrait Gallery unveiled a rendering of Kennedy by the pop artist Andy Warhol.
Elsewhere in the capital, Kennedy was remembered not as the scion of a political dynasty, but as a gentle and unassuming tutor. Kennedy was for years one of a cadre of senators and congressional staff who worked with children as part of the national "Everybody Wins!" reading and mentoring program. Third-grader Larenai Swann read with Kennedy at Brent Elementary School.
LARENAI SWANN: I remember the first time he came and read with me.
ADULT: Was he funny?
LARENAI SWANN: We played "Rock, Paper, Scissors." Whoever won would read the page. But Senator Kennedy won, so -- and we took turns reading.
KWAME HOLMAN: It was not until she returned home that first day that she learned who her new, special tutor was.
LARENAI SWANN: The first day I went home, my mom and my grandmother told me.
ADULT: And what did you think?
LARENAI SWANN: I thought, "Wow."
KWAME HOLMAN: Larenai's mother, Yumica Thompson.
YUMICA THOMPSON: When I found out, I was like, "Oh, OK, that's pretty interesting." I told her that, you know, that that's pretty big, and just go in there, read your best, and do your best, which she did. She actually fell in love with him. He had a great personality, so I guess it put her at ease to read more.
KWAME HOLMAN: Jocelyn Colella is the program coordinator.
JOCELYN COLELLA, coordinator, "Everybody Wins!": He was a really forceful, intimidating figure if you didn't know him personally, but he would come in, and Larenai would be completely consumed by him, his presence, his voice, his demeanor, and she would be wrapped up with him for the time that he was there, and he would be engrossed with her, too. There would be no interruptions while he was working with her.
KWAME HOLMAN: Last year, when Kennedy took ill, he made a point of sending his young charge a letter, to tell her he could no longer assist her.
LARENAI SWANN: It said that he really enjoyed reading with me and he was sick, so he couldn't come anymore.
ADULT: How did that make you feel?
LARENAI SWANN: It made me feel sad that he was sick.
KWAME HOLMAN: Just before his cancer diagnosis, Kennedy sent Larenai a birthday gift: a children's book written by the senator, with an inscription to her.
JEFFREY BROWN: The public will be able to view Kennedy's casket this evening and tomorrow at the Kennedy Library. We'll have more on the history and legacy of the Kennedy family at the end of the program tonight.