Hearts filled fast at Grandparents’ and Special Friends’ Day. Allendale Columbia’s Lower School children welcomed their special guests for a glimpse of their school day, collaborative activities, a family-style lunch, and a special story from AC’s mascot, Wolfie.
It’s an AC tradition that helps build connections, opening eyes, hearts, and minds to different perspectives. Children learn what it was like growing up and going to school decades ago; grandparents and special friends see the new and sometimes similar ways curiosity is nurtured in school today.
Students artfully made personalized buttons for their guests, celebrating their “Nana,” “Noney,” and other endearing names. The special guests received the buttons when they checked in for the day and wore them proudly for the entire day. After guests gathered in the Dining Commons, students greeted them with the song, “Make New Friends,” and then they escorted their guests to the Curtis Performance Center for a welcome assembly. Head of Lower School Michelle Feiss and Head of School Mick Gee made some initial comments, and then Mrs. Feiss introduced the crowd to Wolfie, the AC mascot, who is more than just a puppet to those in attendance.
This year’s theme was “Connections” and Wolfie read a story based on “The Legend of the Red String” to the crowd. “In Asian folklore, the Old Man of the Moon ties an invisible red string to two people fated to find each other and make a significant impact on their lives,” recounted fifth grade teacher Randy Northrup, one of the lead coordinators of this special day. He crafted this special version from elements of similar red string stories. “Even though one of those people was a young prince and the other was a common villager,” he continued, “Wolfie shared how they truly would have an impact on each others’ lives.” During a time of crisis in the kingdom many years later, a young woman solved the mysterious connection of numbers that would appease the river god. The prince, now a king, was surprised to find that this woman was the same girl he had injured with a rock he threw as a child. The Old Man of the Moon’s red string connection was confirmed. Mr. Northrup also painted the silhouettes that were used to illustrate the story.
Guests then split into two groups and alternated between homeroom activities and a special lunch prepared by the AC Kitchen staff. Each homeroom engaged the guests with the students in selected activities.
As another way to build connections, each homeroom group chose a book with their guests to send to Kaleidoscope School of Discovery in Tallahassee, Florida, a community impacted by Hurricane Michael. Students representing each class presented their selections and why they chose them at the closing assembly. The books selected covered a nice range of genres, listed here by grade and homeroom:
- 1M: Listen to the Wind: The Story of Dr. Greg & Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and Susan L. Roth
- 1W: Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Journey to Change the World… One Child at a Time by Sarah Thomson and Greg Mortenson
- 2T: The Buzz on Bees – Why Are They Disappearing? by Shelley Rotner and Anne Woodhull
- 2K: UnBEElievables: Honeybee Poems and Paintings by Doug Florian
- 3E: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
- 3G: Chocolate by Hershey: A Story about Milton S. Hershey by Betty Burford
- 4D-P: All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold
- 4G: The Stone Keeper (Amulet Book #1) by Kabu Kibuishi
- 5N: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
- 5S: The Eureka Key by Sarah L. Thomson
Allendale Columbia appreciates all those who were able to attend. We look forward to next year’s special day!
(Full disclosure: Allendale Columbia receives a donation from Amazon.com when you order a book through the links above. You can also support AC when you shop through Amazon Smile with AC as beneficiary.)
Posted in: Fifth Grade, First Grade, Fourth Grade, Highlights, Lower School, Second Grade, Third Grade