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Valentine’s Day: A holiday that can evoke anything from joy and love to fear and loathing, depending on one’s relationship status and overall level of curmudgeonry. Some readers may be tempted to argue the holiday’s origins or its status as a day dedicated to the commercialization of affection, but set those ideas aside to join ELi as we explore what people—in particular, young people--in town think about and plan for Valentine’s Day.
In effort to get a variety of perspectives from youth of all ages, I reached to out several middle school and high school romantics, each of whom refused to say anything, either by studiously avoiding eye contact and slowly walking away from me, or by letting linger the three dots on their text messaging app. As of this article going to print, it is not clear what local teenagers think or plan to do to celebrate the holiday, and for readers who may have once been fifteen themselves, a refusal to discuss opinions about or plans for Valentine’s Day may feel familiar.
Lily, age four, was similarly demure about her Valentine’s Day plans and preferences, responding to each inquiry with a shrug. Her mom assured me that she loves the holiday and had a fantastic class party at her preschool, and that if I weren’t a stranger, she would have a lot to say about the holiday. She did, however, enjoy having her photo taken for this interview.
One group of EL residents emerged as a population unequivocally enthusiastic about talking about and celebrating Valentine’s Day: elementary school students.
Connor, age seven and a student at Glencairn, said, “I love chocolate for Valentine’s Day!” In his photo, he demonstrates his technique for enjoying Hershey’s Kisses.
William, a nine-year old third grader from Donley, also said that he “liked Valentine’s candy the best.”
Echoing this sentiment was Chandler, age ten and in 4th grade at Donley, who also likes “all the candy!”
Jack (age eleven), shown here with his hand-drawn Valentine’s cards for his classmates at Glencairn, evidenced a certain cynicism about the candy, and said"Valentine’s Day is an excuse to eat chocolate, but I don't mind!”
Hannah, a Donley 3rd grader, didn’t mention candy, but did say her favorite part of the holiday was “getting all of the Valentine’s Day cards.”
Albert, age eight and a classmate of Hannah’s at Donley, said his favorite part of the holiday were “the parties.”
Ava, also an eight-year-old and third grader at Donley, demonstrated how to make a heart with her hands and said she likes Valentine's Day because of “the parties and having fun with friends.”
Seif, age ten, echoed that what he liked about Valentine’s Day was “all the fun.”
But wait...there's more! Look for Part Two of The Spirit of Valentine in East Lansing which is right here.
Special thanks to Jen Scott, Melanie McGuire, Heather Hagan, and Maggie Moore, for their assistance with both parts of this report.
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