Marsha Bartulec – Erie, Colorado … Grandparents hold a special place in our hearts, and, at Vista Ridge Academy (VRA), we believe in celebrating their wisdom and love. Our school’s annual Grandparents and Special Friends Day is an occasion that brings together generations and creates lasting memories. This year on September 15, we welcomed more than 90 grandparents and special friends to our school for a day filled with love, learning, and fun.

Principal Marsha Bartulec was overwhelmed with the turnout: “I had expected maybe 60 to come to the event, but we had over 90 in attendance, more than doubling last year’s attendance. We are blessed to have such a loving and supportive community.”

The day began with a warm welcome breakfast where grandparents, special friends, students, and staff mingled over waffles. It was a delightful way to start the day, fostering connections and setting a joyful tone.

Our Grandparents and Special Friends Day chapel service was a spiritual highlight. Grandparents and students gathered to worship together, deepening their faith and family bonds. The service included music with the second and third graders and Mrs. Fetroe, pledge, prayer, and a heartfelt message by Boulder Church Pastor, Geoff Patterson, emphasizing the importance of family and faith.

Grandparents and special friends accompanied their grandchildren to the classrooms, where they had the opportunity to engage in hands-on learning experiences. From science experiments to art projects, grandparents became active participants in their students’ education. It was a heartwarming sight to see the exchange of knowledge and love across generations.

This year, the annual Fun Run event was added to the special day. For one hour, students ran around the school’s track to raise money for school transportation. Grandparents, special friends, and parents joined in on the fun, cheering or running with the students.

Having not seen her grandma in a while, a middle school student enjoyed having the opportunity to spend the day with her grandma. “I enjoyed sitting down and having breakfast with my grandma and playing jeopardy in our classroom activity,” she says.

Grandparents and Special Friends Day at Vista Ridge Academy is a reflection of our commitment to wholistic education, where we not only focus on academic excellence but also on nurturing values and relationships. It’s a day that celebrates the importance of love, learning, and the strong connections that define our school community. We eagerly anticipate continuing this tradition in the years to come, celebrating the invaluable role grandparents and special friends play in our school community.

—Marsha Bartulec is principal of Vista Ridge Academy, Erie, Colorado. Photos by Marsha Bartulec and Rebecca Larson.