From New Jersey, with love
Grandparents travel from far and near for special day
What brought Roy and Louise Gilbert from Andrews, N.C., and Dolores Nay from Milford, N.J., to Tonganoxie on Monday?
"Our grandchildren," Louise said, laughing as she patted her grandson, Joshua Nay, on the back.
Monday was Grandparents Day at Genesis Christian Academy, which has an enrollment of about 130 students in kindergarten through eighth grade.
Administrator Sharon Beeman said school officials had planned for 250 people for lunch in the school gymnasium. But before noon Monday, Beeman and some of her students were setting up additional chairs and tables.
She estimated that about 275 students and family members ate lunch. That's not counting the grandparents who took their grandchildren out elsewhere to eat.
For the Gilberts and Nays, the gymnasium was the perfect place to meet for lunch.
The Gilberts drove some 840 miles Friday from their Smoky Mountains city, while Dolores Nay flew in from Philadelphia to see Joshua and his two sisters, Ruth and Rachel. Ruth is a fifth-grader at Genesis, Joshua a fourth-grader and Rachel a kindergartner.
The Nays live at Fort Leavenworth with their mother, Judy, and father, Robert, who is an Army chaplain. Robert was stationed in Alaska for three years before recently being assigned to Fort Leavenworth. He is in the middle of 10 months of classes at the base. In addition, he was stationed in Iraq for 16 months.
Judy said her children's grandparents planned on coming for the big event in July, when Judy first learned the specific date of this year's Grandparents Day.
"This was a good opportunity for us to see them," Judy said.
She also spoke about the value of their family spending time together when they are scattered across the country.
"You treasure time with family when you're apart so much; and they know that," Judy said referring to her children. "You can feel that."
Joshua certainly was happy that his grandparents made long trips to visit.
"It's neat," Joshua said. "I like them coming."
The grandparents observed multiplication bingo with Ruth and Joshua and said the pledge of allegiance to the American flag, then the Christian flag and finally the Bible.
Rachel was in charge of holding each of the flags and the Bible.
"That was my first time," Rachel said about her duty with a grin, her youthful smile lacking a couple teeth she recently lost.
Dolores Nay said the children's activities were interesting to see, especially the multiplication bingo.
Roy Gilbert was most impressed with the camaraderie among everyone at the school, as well as the students and their families.
"They tend to co-mingle very well together," Roy Gilbert said.
Although Tonganoxie is roughly 25 miles from the Nays' home in Leavenworth, Judy Nay said GCA was an easy choice when her family was deciding one where the children would attend school
"We felt most comfortable with this school," Judy said, noting the school was safe and the staff included "friendly" and "Godly people."
She also said the A Beka curriculum, which GCA uses, was important, as that's what Judy and Robert's children were introduced to at their school in Fairbanks, Alaska.
In addition to multiplication bingo, Beeman said the students held a brief assembly at 9:30 a.m. Poetry readings were held and second-graders wrote a play about grandparents as well.