Parkade Baptist Church members fill in on Grandparents Day

Story and photos by SIMIN WANG
neighborhoods@ColumbiaMissourian.com

First-grader Destiny Mozee hugs her substitute grandfather on Grandparents Day. "He is special," she said of Parkade Baptist Church member John Endley.

First-grader Destiny Mozee, who does not have grandparents, got to connect with a grandfather at Parkade Elementary School‘s Grandparents Day on Thursday.

“He’s good, and I love him,” Destiny said about John Endley, 84, a Parkade Baptist Church member who played the role of a grandfather for students who did not have grandparents, or whose grandparents could not make it to the event.

Destiny sat on Endley’s lap while he read “The Gingerbread Man” to her. No outsider could tell that they were not related to each other at all.

Endley enjoyed playing Destiny’s grandfather, too. “She’s a sweet little girl,” he said.

Wanda Scott from Parkade Baptist Church reads to first-grader Joe Martin. "It's a most rewarding thing to be a grandparent, whether I'm a substitute or biological," she said.

Grandparents Day was held from 1.30 to 3.30 p.m. Thursday at the school, with about 110 grandparents and members of Parkade Baptist Church taking part. The grandparents followed kindergarten through fifth-grade students to classes, read books to them, wrote stories together and attended a book fair in the school library.

Barbara Hohimer, 66, drove from Springfield, Ill., to celebrate her grandson Schuyler Smith-Hohimer’s birthday. “I just love spending time with Schuyler,” she said. “He’s special.”

The first-graders want grandfather John Endley to hug them all.

Grandparents Day has always been part of the school’s tradition, Principal Amy Watkins said. “When the students share learning experiences with caring adults, it would motivate them.”

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