They say it takes a village to raise a child – and on Thursday at the Thalberg Elementary School, that commitment to community was delivered loud and clear as hundreds of parents and grandparents came together for the annual “Grandparents Day.”
“The response this year was unbelievable,” said Lauren Thibault, who co-chaired the event with Patti Feeny. “We hosted centers where the kids could interact with their grandparents directly and invited the students to interview them. It was better than we could have anticipated; for the fifth-grade students alone, we had more than 200 people show up.”
The annual program has become a popular tradition at the school said Megan Bennett, first-year principal at Thalberg. Bennett said it was one of the first things that former principal Beecher LaJoie told her about and a tradition she said she hoped would continue for years to come.
Students on Thursday had a chance to create art, read and even conduct interviews to learn more about their family lineage and history – all with their grandparents right by their side.
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"This is a great connection to have," Bennett said. "For many of our students, grandparents serve as the guardian or help out because parents aren't always there or may be working to make ends meet. This encourages community involvement, which is essential in learning."
Grandparents like Anthony D'Angelo and Kathy Gorneault said it was an honor to be able to come in and just be part of their grandchildren's lives.
The two both volunteer, but said that "Grandparents Day" is the highlight of the year for them. They were busy Thursday not only interacting with their grandchildren, but friends as well.
"Being a grandparent is the most wonderful feeling in the world," Gorneault said. "This is the highlight of the year for me."
But grandparents weren't the only ones enjoying Thursday's program. Third-grader Ethan Solury, D'Angelo's grandson, and his classmates Avery Latham and Jaden O'Donnell all said they were happy to have their grandparents at the school.
During a question and answer session with their grandparents, the three said they learned a lot about them including how old they were when they got married, how they met their significant others and more.
Latham said he really enjoyed the experience and learned a lot.
"There was a lot I never knew or even thought to ask. it was kind of interesting to learn about it," he said.
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