Grandparents needed at PBES

Staff writer

A special opportunity awaits Peabody and Burns grandparents — and many others — on Sept. 20. Peabody-Burns Elementary School will have a Grandparents’ Day luncheon in the school cafeteria. The event is open not only to patrons with grandchildren enrolled at the elementary school, but to adults with no grandchildren who would just like to participate.

“This is a great way for older patrons whose grandchildren may be grown or living somewhere else to get involved with what is happening in our schools,” Principal Ken Parry said. “We always are happy to have interested adults participate in what’s going on here. We have an adoption program to match up grandmas and grandpas with some of our students who would love to share their classroom, activities, and lunch.”

The Grandparents’ Day lunch has been a popular event on the school’s calendar for several years.

“I think this might be the sixth or seventh annual event,” he said. “Sally Barnaby, a former counselor in our building, was the one who brought the idea to us. She had heard a presentation about the program and thought it was something that would be a great idea for Peabody-Burns Elementary.”

Parry said Barnaby organized the first couple of lunches. After she left, Parry wanted to keep it going and asked the Parent-Teacher Organization to be in charge. Now members of the group serve as volunteers along with 10 or 12 middle and high school students who help carry trays, clean tables, and provide whatever service is necessary for the participants.

The day includes activities such as arts and crafts in each classroom and lunch in the school cafeteria for the students and their grandparents. Grandparents must sign up in advance to attend. There is a $3 charge to offset the cost of the meal.

Sharon and Dennis Pickens have attended the activities and lunch since its inception, both as grandparents to several of their own grandchildren and as adopted grandparents to children whose grandparents were not available.

“I am not sure what year we started going,” Sharon said. “But Hunter and Amanda were about fourth or fifth grade and both are in college now, so it has been awhile. We have always enjoyed it.

“We have volunteered to be adopted grandparents since our own grandkids have moved on,” she said. “Sometimes we would take two or three kids — whoever was on the list — and attend their classroom activities and then go eat with them. I guess we just hope that in a similar situation, if we weren’t around for our grandchildren, some other grandmas and grandpas would step up and do the same for them.

“Dennis and I have enjoyed all of it, every time. And I am always surprised at what a big crowd it draws. It’s a good thing,” she added.

Parry said that advance reservations are needed and registration for the event will close at the end of the school day Friday. Interested grandparents and adoptable grandparents should call the PBES office at (620) 983-2188 to make arrangements.

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