PLATTSBURGH — Quincy Parkinson is well aware of the many things her grandmother, Margaret, does for her.
“She encourages me and, like, helps me with stuff,” the seventh-grader told the Press-Republican.
In return, Quincy invited Margaret to Stafford Middle School for its first-ever Grandparents’ Appreciation Day.
The event, held Thursday afternoon in the school cafeteria, was organized by the Student Council and funded by the Family School Organization in an effort to honor grandparents and let them know they are always welcome in the building.
“We want to make the school as transparent to the community as we can,” Stafford Middle School Principal Jamie LaBarge said. “We want everybody to see what we do here.”
Oftentimes, parents get to observe some of the hard work that teachers and students accomplish at the school, he noted, but grandparents are often left out.
“We want to show our appreciation for the grandparents, (and) at the same time, bring them in and let them see what we’re doing here and what we’re all about.”
With the help of adviser Penny Manor, the Student Council organized a number of activities for the special occasion, including a sundae bar, raffles, refreshments and a craft table, where students could make cards for their grandmothers and grandfathers.
In addition, a photo booth was set up for kids and their elders to strike poses in, something sixth-grader Hannah Baker was looking forward to doing with her grandparents, Ella and George Boolukos.
“I thought it would be nice to invite them in for something that I wanted to do with them today, and I thought it would be nice to have people see my grandparents today,” she said.
Grandma’s Candy Shop, a local business, provided complimentary sweets and coffee for the event.
For Margaret, the occasion provided an opportunity to see Quincy’s school for the first time and enjoy some conversation, snacks and punch with her granddaughter.
“I love her to death,” she said of Quincy. “I just am so proud of her, and she studies so hard, and she’s such a good girl. She’s exceptional.”
Ray Suarez had also never been to Stafford Middle School prior to the event — he was a guest of his granddaughter, Grace.
In fact, Ray traveled from Washington, D.C., to attend the function at the eighth-grader’s invitation.
“I made it all the way up because I wanted to be here with her,” he said.
In addition to participating in the many activities, students read aloud poems they had written in honor of the elders.
‘WORTH THE WAIT’
Ian Campbell’s grandparents couldn’t come from Jacksonville, Fla., for the event, but the sixth-grader shared his poem about them anyhow.
“Grandparents, thank you for your great stories and good years; for this is why we gather, giving you smiles, laughs and cheers,” he recited.
“Some grandparents live in the city, county or state; for some it takes their grandparents a long time to get here, but it’s worth the wait.”
The Family School Organization held a cookie fundraiser to come up with the financial backing for Appreciation Day, according to the group’s President Margarita Garcia-Notario.
So much of value takes place in schools, she noted, so being able to bring both parents and grandparents into the building is a positive thing.
“We’re hoping that this will be an event that keeps happening every year,” she said.
Email Ashleigh Livingston:firstname.lastname@example.org