SHABBONA – Jim and Mary Kidd look forward to traveling from Big Rock to Shabbona every year at this time.
They visit Shabbona Elementary School every Grandparents’ Day to see their grandchildren, Brooke and Jeffrey Probst, showcase their school and perform in the annual music program.
This year, Jeffrey shared with his first-grade class a paper he wrote about activities he liked to do with his grandparents. He wrote that he liked to swim with them and spend time with his grandfather, Jim.
“He just loves to hang out with his grandpa,” Mary Kidd said. “He loves his grandpa very much.”
More than 350 grandparents filed into the Shabbona Elementary School gym Friday morning to watch their grandchildren perform musical numbers such as “Hot Cross Buns” and “Skip to My Lou” in their honor.
“Some of them have been coming for years to support the kids and the community,” said Shabbona Elementary School principal David Mantzke.
Music teacher Sue Jacobson led the annual music program, in which each class from kindergarten to fifth grade performed musical numbers for the grandparents.
“We’re just really happy with how well attended this is,” Jacobson said. “That’s what makes the kids so excited.”
Richard Bend, whose grandson Logan Bend is a fourth-grader and one of three siblings at Shabbona Elementary, said he’s been to about 30 to 40 grandparents days over the years, visiting with several of his 30 grandchildren and learning about their classes individually.
Bend said spending quality time with each of his grandchildren during the event was all about time management.
“[I spend] a half-hour here and a half-hour there,” he said.
Jean Slater can relate.
Slater traveled from Sugar Grove to spend the morning with the youngest of her 11 grandchildren, Shabbona second-grader Amelia McClane. She said being able to devote her time to just one grandchild was special.
“There was a time I had to share my time,” she said.
Mantzke said the purpose of the day and the musical program is to thank those who influence the students so much.
“It’s just to give back to the grandparents and friends and family,” he said.
Mary Kidd said she and her husband, in turn, would like to give back to the students at the school by fostering those without grandparents on this day.
“I can’t imagine not having someone,” she said.
Kidd said she hopes to get other foster grandparents involved with this initiative because it would benefit both the students and adults.
“I think it would be a great opportunity for other people in the community,” she said.