Friday, May 17, 2019

Grandparents celebrated by Windham Middle and Primary Schools

By Matt Pascarella

During the school year, students from the Windham Middle School eighth grade classrooms of Pam Mallard, Lisa Hodge, Erika DuPont and Tricia Sabine spend time mentoring students from the Windham Primary School second grade classrooms of Brianna Butts, Casey Dubay and Haley Saurman. The goal is for the eighth-grade students to provide a leadership role for the younger students.

Eighth graders Ted Becker and Elise Schultz
welcome everyone to the celebration
On Friday, May 10 the classrooms had their Grandparents Celebration, held at Windham High School. This celebration allows students to connect with individuals of different generations and celebrate the mentoring program, as well as display the work they’ve done throughout the year.

The mentoring program, or ‘buddy program’ started roughly ten years ago. The educators and teachers wanted to add more of a connection piece with the students. They decided to include grandparents because they tend to get left out as students enter middle school and it allows the students to share a piece of their family with the schools and it makes the grandparents feel special.

Lucas Spencer, an eighth grader in Erika Dupont’s class, said the goal was for eighth graders to teach the second graders, and get together and just hang out.

Caleb Spencer, a second grader in Haley Saurman’s class, liked being paired with his older brother. They both had fun; the activities were fun and Caleb said his brother did a good job.

“During the school year we get together once a month to do a learning adventure and to share some time with our second-grade buddies,” explained eighth graders Ted Becker and Elise Schultz at the opening of the celebration to an audience of students and grandparents.

“One of our coolest adventures is this grandparent celebration. This allows us to bring many generations together to share this special program designed to show how much we care about you,” they added.

“We do a variety of events such as a share your favorite book, learning about bats, exploring the concept of thankfulness, and making Valentines for the nursing home.  This year the eighth graders made a sled for a science unit and went sledding with their buddies,” explained Pam Mallard.

The celebration began with Middle School principal Drew Patton speaking ‘words of wisdom’ about the importance of relationships. He emphasized working to keep those relationships along with making memories and sharing traditions with your grandparents. Relationships are essential because they guide us, not only through the happy times, but also through the difficult ones.

Second graders led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem. Students then sang songs and performed skits to honor and show appreciation for their grandparents. There was a video presentation about why grandparents are special to the students. Another video presentation followed about the community service done during the mentoring program; students did a Thanksgiving Day food drive with the Salvation Army, made pinecone bird feeders and started a fundraiser to get animal beds for the Animal Refuge League.

“It was very special to see my grandsons and their activities,” observed grandmother Sylvia Marin, who was very proud of her grandsons, Caleb and Lucas Spencer.

“It was really nice being here and seeing the makes us feel good as grandparents,” replied Paul Marin, grandfather to Caleb and Lucas.

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