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LUCAMA — When third grader Aubrey Parrish came to school early Friday for Grandparents’ Day, three grandmothers came with her.
Vickie Miller, Susie Jones and Gail Parrish were all there to support their granddaughter, a student at Lucama Elementary School.
“We try to do it every year so that they know that we care and love them,” Miller said. “Every child needs to know that they are loved because that is part of knowing that you have a full life, that you have someone who is always there for you, that is always going to be able to pick up when the parents can’t.”
“It takes a village,” Jones said. “It takes all of us to make sure she is on the right path, to make sure she gets her homework done. When the parents can’t be here, she has a full support system.”
“We love our grandchild and we want to support her, and we are always here for her,” Parrish said.
About 200 grandmothers and grandfathers came to the early-morning event where pastries were served along with juices before the regular school day began.
“I think it is great, and this is a great school,” Parrish said.
Della Pridgen Jett, grandmother of Lillian Sharpe, a fifth grader, said her granddaughter is “my pride and joy.”
“I love her, and I love this school. I came with her last year,” Jett said.
Jett said for children, having relationships with grandparents “is how they learn and grow.”
Renee Spreadbury, vice president of the Lucama Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization, said grandparents “are the backbone of the family.”
“We wouldn’t be here without them. They support us. They are very supportive of the kids,” Spreadbury said. “They do a lot for them, and I just think it’s great. A lot of them come in and volunteer when we need people to come in and do stuff, and as a PTO, we feel like we need to give back to our parents and our grandparents. So this is one of our free functions with no cost at all.”
Teachers at the school came in early to serve the breakfast and run a photo opportunity so the grandparents could capture photos with their grandchildren.
Macey Horner, a fifth grade teacher, was one of them.
“A lot of our grandparents are also stepping in as parents, and this gives them an opportunity to be involved in ways that they normally can’t,” Horner said. “We have a lot of grandparents who are really involved. Even the children who have parents at home, their grandparents are still very supportive.”
Horner said grandparents really step up to pinch hit for parents.
“They do transportation for them. They bring things when they need them. They give supplies to the classroom even when the parents are in the picture,” Horner said. “A lot of our kids need that extra support.”
Other Wilson County schools have similar functions recognizing their appreciation of grandparents.