Hawthorn’s Grand Event personalizes history, unites generations
Nov 25, 2019 02:42PM
By Julie Slama
Collette Osburn shares with her granddaughter Kylee activities she enjoyed in second grade and compares their similar interests. (Julie Slama/City Journals)
By Julie Slama | [email protected]
Two grandmothers stood outside a Hawthorn Academy classroom door, eagerly awaiting to be united with their granddaughters to participate in the Grand Event.
“Scarlett was really excited that she could invite me to do a grandparent activity and have me see the book fair,” Cherie Dahl said. “I love to be included.”
Hawthorn Academy’s Grand Event is an opportunity for family members to interact with their students in the classroom and see their work as well as visit the book fair, said Principal Jeremy Craig.
“We encourage those who can have an active role to come, participate and support their student,” he said. “We recognize it takes a village, not just the parents, to help students. It’s important that anytime students can get academic support, they have it.”
Collette Osburn connected with her second-grade granddaughter, Kylee. Together, they filled out a form of activities that Kylee likes to do as well as ones that Osburn liked when she was in second grade.
“She likes to read like I did,” Osburn said. “She likes ‘Be Brave Little Panda,’ while I read ‘The Boxcar Children.’”
Dahl not only united with Scarlett but with her friend Rhyatt, who called Dahl, “Great Aunt Cherie” as her adoptive great aunt. Together they filled out their forms, citing similar interests in reading and writing.
Second grade teacher Jennifer Darcy said it was a fun, engaging activity where family members could bond over similar interests.
“One of our teachers came up with it,” Dara said. “It’s fun and a chance for them to learn about each other’s lives at different times.”
In addition to books they like, the activity included where and when they were born, their pets, who is someone they looked up to, siblings, what they did for fun and what was their favorite thing about school.
Connie Hinerman and her fourth grade granddaughter, Sophie, filled out a similar but more extensive questionnaire, one that included such things as their favorite songs, movie stars and the price of gasoline.
“I think it’s a cool idea and a great way to connect to family and strengthen family ties,” Hinerman said. “She showed me around her classroom, and we’re so proud of her work. I’m buying books at the Scholastic book fair. I remember reading books from the bookmobile.”
Sophie said she learned a few things about her grandmother and time period she grew up.
“I learned that things were very cheap then, like soda can cost 25 cents,” she said.
Berlynn Whitney’s dad, Randy, came to the Grand Event.
“She showed me the laptop she works on and how they Google to find information; and she learned how school was different when I was in school and we had to write down everything,” he said. “Now, we’re going to look at the book she’s eyeing. It’s a win-win to get a book she’ll enjoy and read.”
Third grade teacher DeAwna Egege said she’s appreciative of the many grandparents who not only purchased books for their grandchildren but also for some kids who didn’t have family come or for her classroom.
“Some grandparents came from one hour away, and last year, I had one who came from out-of-state as a surprise; it was sweet,” she said. “With our questionnaires, we’re taking Polaroid photos so they can take both of them home as a memory.”
Egege, who grew up away from her grandparents, appreciates the efforts the students’ grandparents are making.
“I love when a grandparent is interested in volunteering, even if it’s just while they’re in town for a visit,” she said. “I had grandparents share what it was like, and students learned the difference in technology and electronics from dial telephones to cell phone development and even the difference in filming to today’s video cameras. It’s a different approach to educating students about our history but one which strengthens family connections and personalizes learning.”