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Grandparents and special seniors come to Page Hilltop


By Jon Bishop

AYER — Page Hilltop had a “grand ole” time on a recent Friday.

The school asked first-graders to invite their grandparents and any special seniors to an event that featured food, singing and conversations about life years ago — questions like: How did you get to school? What was your first-grade classroom like?

It was a way to honor them and all that they have done.

According to Principal Fred Deppe, about 200 people were in attendance.

And they, quite literally, came from all over: Florida and Maine and even Puerto Rico.

The grandparents were appreciative and moved.

“I think it’s a great way for the students to show a little affection for their families,” said Phil Cormier, a Fitchburg resident and grandfather. “I think it’s great for the kids.”

“It’s a meaningful day,” he added. “It’s very touching.”

It was especially meaningful for him, because seeing his granddaughter at the event brought back memories of when his daughter was young.

“It brought me to tears,” he said. It was great because it demonstrates that family is still important in this culture, in this digital age, he said.

“It’s nice to see the sense of community that this school supports,” Cormier said.

For that, he thanked the teachers and staff, who have a way of rubbing off on the students.

“It’s big,” he said.

Laura Gabino, the one who came from Puerto Rico, said the event was “the start of a good summer.”

Michelle Tarr, a Pepperell resident, was succinct: “Oh, I loved it. Awesome.”

Jayden Starr, her grandson, said he had a great time, too.

Deppe called the event “one of our favorite days of the year.”

It’s “always well-attended,” he said.

“One of the strengths of it is inter-generational connection,” said Deppe. “It’s a great learning activity.”

Leah Morse, one of the teachers, also said it’s “one of our favorite times” of the year.

“It’s been a hit,” she said.

She said it provides “a nice connection” for both students and their grandparents, which is “a great thing.”

According to Morse, this was the fourth-annual Grandparents/Special Seniors Day.