Ayer -- The first-grade community at the Page Hilltop School rolled out the red carpet for the stars in their lives -- their grandparents.

"There are many reasons why it is important to connect the young with the old in our society," said first-grade teacher Beth Lewis. "First it creates empathy for those who cannot always physically or possibly mentally help themselves anymore. Secondly, it is a connection to the past, to listen and witness the sacrifices those who came before us made for our future.

"Also," she added, "we (me and children) will all be in that situation eventually, given we each live a long life."

Lewis said, "Finally, there is just something special about the old and the young connecting -- grandparents truly have a special place in a child's heart."

The morning of the May 3 event, the school's Cultural Arts Room was set up like a night at the Oscars. There was a red carpet for the visitors to walk down, "Best Grandparent" awards set at each table, and centerpieces that said, "Grandparents are the Stars of the Family."

"What a lovely set-up the first grade put together," said Page Hilltop guidance counselor Jayne Garrett. "They worked so hard to make this a special day for everyone."

After a welcome from Principal Fred Deppe, Lewis emceed the program to entertain their guests. Following the Oscars theme, she led the five first-grade classrooms in an Oscar musical review. The chorus of 6 and 7-year-olds sang Oscar award-winning songs from each of the eras that the grandparents attended first-grade themselves.


Also, as they sang the songs, a PowerPoint presentation was displayed on the wall showing popular toys and cars from those eras.

For the 1930s, the students sang The Wizard of Oz's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," the 1940s brought Here Comes the Waves' "Accentuate the Positive," the 1950s song was A Hole in the Head's "High Hopes," Mary Poppins' "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" was the 1960s choice and the 1970s got two songs -- Willy Wonka's "Candyman" and The Muppet Movie's "Rainbow Connection."

After the musical entertainment, a few grandparents were interviewed by their grandchildren on the red carpet. The questions asked pertained to each guest's experiences in first grade: What was your first grade classroom like, how did you get to school, what did you play at recess, and what would happen if you got into trouble?

Nina Dumas' grandparents talked about the inkwells they had on their desks and how they had to make balls out of tinfoil from the cafeteria to play catch at recess.

Annabelle Kenyon's grandmother said she loved field day at her school each year because it was the only day she was allowed to wear pants. She also told a story about an instance when her dog followed her to school and was allowed to sleep under her desk for the school day.

Donovan Herreros' grandmother, Connie Donovan, who attended first-grade at Lura A. White School in Shirley, told about how she would walk home for lunch every day and then walk back for the afternoon.

Geri D'Amico, Ava D'Amico's grandmother, said that even though she was a very good student, there was one time that she got into trouble for laughing in music class and had to sit under the piano for the rest of the class. Ava and the crowd laughed.

"This was a wonderful event and a memorable experience for the students, the teachers and our honored guests," said Deppe. "The inter-generational connections are great to watch. I spoke with many of the seniors who were so eager to share their memories of first grade and elementary school.

"Several of them mentioned that this was one of the nicest days they'd ever had," Deppe said, "and encouraged us to continue this yearly. Some of our first-grade parents stated that they couldn't wait for younger siblings to come to Page Hilltop so that they, also, could share in this experience."

Lewis and the other first-grade teachers thanked all of the grandparents who came for their program and the parents who donated the treats for the refreshment portion of the morning.