Glencairn Elementary Celebrates Special Person's Day
Above: Art teacher Diane Olmsted helps to distribute flowers.
There was standing room only in the Glencairn Elementary School gym during Glencairn’s first Special Person’s Day on February 14. Music teacher Erika Bridge guided her students through a musical performance centered on themes of love and caring. This was followed by tea and snacks arranged by the Parent Teacher Organization and parent volunteers.
“Erika brought this idea to me, as it was something she did in her previous district,” explained Glencairn Principal Lorraine Ware (photo above). “I had never heard of it before! I have heard of Grandparents Day. I think having ‘special person’s day’ is fabulous, because many of our students don’t have grandparents that are living nearby, and a special person could still be a grandparent, but it could also be any other special person in the child’s life.”
The Special Person’s Day crowd at Glencairn did include grandparents, as well parents, aunts, uncles and siblings. Glencairn students were given red carnations to distribute to their special people as a memento of the day.
Bridge worked with each grade to learn a short set of holiday-themed musical selections, some featuring instruments such as recorders, xylophones, and ukuleles.
“I love the inclusive nature of the program and the opportunity for the students to interact with their special person during the school day,” said Bridge. “Shifting the focus of Valentine’s Day from romantic love to love and kindness towards all the people in our lives is something that I am very passionate about. It is a great reminder, especially in light of [recent] tragic events in Florida, that we have to take each moment to cherish those we love and be sure to also say it out loud: ‘You are loved, you are important, you are valued.’”
Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade classes performed in a concert in the morning, and the third, fourth, and fifth grades performed in the afternoon.
Glencairn’s Student Leadership Team, a group of student volunteers who work with the school administration to organize school events, also helped by serving food and distributing the red carnations. Parent volunteers organized by the PTO helped with set-up and clean-up.
According to PTO President Karin Polishchuk, some of the refreshments were paid for out of the PTO’s School Enrichment Fund and some were purchased with gift cards donated by Meijer Stores, but most of the food served at the tea was donated by parents.
Having two large gatherings with lots of extra visitors and two seatings for tea could have been very disruptive to the school day but, according to Bridge, the community embraced the celebration.
“All of the classroom teachers were so gracious and flexible about their day,” she said, “and many chose to forego the traditional Valentine’s Day Parties in favor of the tea, which felt much more meaningful to the students and their families.”
Principal Ware has already hinted that Special Person’s Day might become a new Glencairn Tradition. The fancy plastic tea cups that were bought for the occasion were carefully washed after the event, so that they can be used again in the future.