For the second year in a row, Lower School Grandparents and Special Friends Day had to be rescheduled, this year because of a power outage on campus during December. Thank you to the more than 300 grandparents who waited patiently until January 28 and were rewarded with a day of inventive and engaging Zoom presentations and lots of air hugs and enthusiastic waves from joyful Lower Schoolers.
The morning started with a presentation by Head of School Dr. Mike Davis and Lower School Principal Angie Crabtree. (Watch the presentation here.) They fielded questions from curious grandparents, ranging from “What is the history of CA?” to “How has COVID-19 affected CA?”
Grandparents then dropped into classrooms via Zoom, following a schedule artfully designed by Mrs. Crabtree to ensure that grandparents with multiple grandchildren could visit every classroom and not miss a single poem or song.
“Hola, Grandma!” That’s just one way students in the Pre-Kindergarten Cottage greeted their grandparents before music teacher Isabella Ubertone led them in “Stars.”
At the Pre-Kindergarten Casita, music teacher Isabella Ubertone led students in three songs, including “I Love the Mountains,” accompanied by the American Sign Language she had taught them.
Lindsey Owens’ Kindergartners gave their grandparents many reasons for why they are loved, including “I like watching soccer games with my grandparents” and “I love playing trucks with you grandparents.”
“Friends, you did such a nice job!” said Kindergarten teacher Christine West. Her students told their grandparents why they love them and shared with them a classic poem about the ultimate fate of all snowmen: “And Jack Frost cried and ran away, and with him went the snow.”
Because of the careful scheduling, Kindergartners in Caroline Simon’s class had to wait until early afternoon to greet their grandparents. Kudos to the many Lower School teachers who spent the day bending over or kneeling, holding a computer to eye level of CA’s youngest students.
“These children are so excited, they are about to burst,” said First Grade teacher Sarah Ingham. Grandparents (including some in Taiwan) joined her class and drew a toucan with their grandchildren. “If a toucan can, you can too!”
Diana Giarusso’s First Graders presented a day of poetry, but their favorite moment may have come at the end when they had a dance party with their grandparents.
“I hope you will receive some insight into the wonderful things your grandchildren are doing.” That’s what First Grade teacher Megan Ollett said before her students presented a delightful program of poetry and songs. Who knew “We love you, grandparents” could be adapted to music from Bye Bye Birdie?
In Lizzie Rockmore’s Second Grade class, students waxed truly poetic, presenting an “Ode to My Grandparents.” “My love is as big as the Earth,” said Ryan Fossel, “When I see you, I shoot to you as fast as a light and I give you a huge hug.”
Jessica McCoy’s Second Graders demonstrated their skills as “Authors,” writing and reading poems they had written and dedicated to their grandparents.
“All about me.” That was the title of presentations by Second Graders in Karli Warrender’s class. “Maybe you learned something new!” Warrender told grandparents when the students had finished.
Ali Elkins’ Third Grade students presented the history of their families, with lots of references to how much they love Colorado.
Grandparents were sent back in time in Jay Leeuwenburg’s Third Grade class, as students delivered essays about the first person in their family to come to Colorado.
Stephanie Stone’s Third Grade class titled their presentations “How my family came to Colorado.” Students talked about ancestors coming from around the world including Russia, Germany, China, Ireland, and England.
How much do you know about the U.S. National Parks? That was the clever quiz created by Afaf Saoudi’s Fourth Graders. Lucky for grandparents, the students offered multiple-choice answers.
Jeff Brown’s Fourth Graders enthusiastically competed with their grandparents in a game of Hollywood Squares. One tricky grandfather tried to fool the class by telling them the meaning of the word “fastidious” was “very fast running around the track.” The students voted “wrong!” and scored the point.
Chelsea Grantham’s Fifth Graders presented some of the questions they were exploring for their “Voices of Change” capstone project, including “How do people in Ethiopia suffering from water pollution get clean water?” and “Why do factories emit dangerous gases if they know it hurts the Earth?”
In Sara Wachtel’s Fifth Grade class, students presented the questions they are researching for their “Voices of Change” projects, including “How can I prevent deforestation in the Amazon?” and “What alternatives can cosmetic companies use instead of animal testing?”
“What problem in the world would you like to make better and what solutions can you find to that problem?” That’s how Fifth Grade teacher Jessica Ohly explained the “Voices of Change” presentations students made, including “Gun violence is a growing problem. How can we make a difference?” and “Light pollution is bad and can harm the Earth.”
Note: Middle and Upper School Grandparents and Special Friends Day was held in December 2021.