Story and photos by SIMIN WANG
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.
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.”
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.”