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Grandparents honored at Unionville Elementary

Leonard Rapkins from Inverness, Scotland, traveled to Unionville Elementary Tuesday (Nov. 23, 2010) to see his granddaughter, Hailey Rape, 5, a kindergartener, for Grandparents Day. Also pictured, at right, is Unionville Elementary principal Sharyn VonCannon.

Unionville Elementary has a deeply rooted history that celebrates 120 years of providing education to the community. For the past 20 of those years, the school has had the tradition of honoring grandparents.

“We do this just before Thanksgiving because so many of the families are home for Thanksgiving and have an opportunity that they wouldn’t have otherwise,” said Unionville Elementary principal Sharyn VonCannon.

More than 800 grandparents crammed into the gymnasium at Unionville, surrounding the approximately 740 elementary students who were seated on the floor.

Superintendent Dr. Ed Davis thanked all the grandparents present for their support and influence on the lives of their grandchildren, noting that his own grandparents helped shape his own life.

“I want to thank you for all you do to support this community and to support these boys and girls,” Davis said. “Our mission at Union County Public Schools is to ‘Prepare All Students to Succeed.’ And grandparents, you’re a big part of that. Never underestimate your involvement, your love and the care you give these boys and girls.”

VonCannon recognized the oldest grandparent and the grandparent with the most grandchildren. Kathleen Alexander, 92, won the first designation, while Barbara Ashburner won the second, having 33 grandchildren.

Leonard Rapkins from Inverness, Scotland, won the designation of having traveled the farthest. “I traveled 3,500 miles to get here,” he said. “This event is just overwhelming. These people are fantastic. I’m just so impressed the way education is now focused entirely around children, as opposed to just on discipline and education. It’s all about the children, bringing the child out rather than suppressing them.”

Rapkins traveled to Unionville Elementary to see his granddaughter Hailey Rape, 5, a kindergartener. “My papa is going to move here,” Hailey said. “I think that’s pretty cool. Papa is going to take me to Scotland when I’m 12. I’m going to fly in a real airplane.”

Local musicians Village Greene offered entertainment, singing a variety of musical styles -- from beach music and blue grass to rock and roll.

Also entertaining the crowd was Mika Bruce, a teacher at the school, who clogged to “Foggy Mountain Breakdown.” Her daughter, kindergartener Raina Bruce, and fourth-grader Caleb Baucom, also performed with Bruce.

Kassidy Price, 9, Mae Hinson, 9, and Mia Bruce, 10, danced a 50s rock-n-roll number for the crowd.

Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe, UCPS Communications Coordinator
Posted: Nov 23, 2010 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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