Corbin H. Crable
USD 231 students last week were proud to show their grandparents a day in their lives at school – and grandparents returned the favor as well.
Students at Pioneer Ridge and Wheatridge middle schools ushered their grandparents through the halls of their school, showed their family members their classrooms and lockers and introduced them to friends on Thursday and Friday. It all was part of the schools’ annual Grandparents Day, designed for students to show their school and class to their grandparents.
An estimated 100 grandparents took seats in Wheatridge’s cafeteria on Friday as they listened to Principal Heath Sigg welcome them to the school.
“What a great turnout,” Sigg said. “You know, talking to my parents and grandparents, it was always neat to hear about how school was for them. You guys play an important role in these kids’ lives.”
Students led their grandparents to their classroom, where both generations discussed an average day at school.
Sixth-graders in Elizabeth Reynolds’ class asked their grandparents a host of questions about their time growing up, including their favorite subject in school, their favorite food growing up, where they were born, and their favorite television program.
“We didn’t go to movies or anything like that,” one grandmother told the class. “We lived 25 miles away from town.”
Jerry and Linda Nichols sat with their granddaughter, sixth-grader Montse Anzn, chatting about their own memories of school.
“She called and asked us to be here,” Linda said of her granddaughter. “We’d do anything for our grandkids.”
Montse said she was happy to invite her grandparents to school.
“They’re always there for me,” she said. “They care about me.”
Jerry and Linda shared their recollections of school days – which proved to be quite different from kids’ experiences now, Jerry said.
“When I was in school, all of these kids would be taught in one room,” said
Jerry, motioning to the other children around the classroom. He added that every day, he walked four miles to school each way.
Linda said she remembered the lessons instilled in her by her mother when she was Montse’s age.
“She taught me the value of jobs, the value of marriage, that what’s on the outside isn’t as important as what’s on the inside,” Linda recalled. “It was a good life. It wasn’t perfect, of course.”
One specific memory from her time in school still stuck out in her mind, Linda said.
Linda, who attended elementary school in Leavenworth, Kan., claimed that David Eisenhower, the grandson of then-U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, was briefly a fellow student in her class. It was the late 1950s, during the end of Eisenhower’s second term as president, and the younger Eisenhower received plenty of Secret Service protection while in class. Multiple agents stood in the room – some by the window, some by the door, and some right next to the young boy’s desk – as Linda’s teacher gave the day’s lessons.
Linda said she became so agitated by the agents’ presence that she raised her hand in class and told the teacher she thought they were a distraction. According to Linda, Eisenhower transferred out of the school three months later.
Hearing these kinds of stories – of school days both past and present – are a thrill for child and grandparent alike, according to Marcia Munsell, student services coordinator at Wheatridge, who helped organize Grandparents Day at the school.
“It gives students a chance to share what their school is like,” Munsell said. “These students love having their grandparents come in – they’re very excited about it.”
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