Redcliffe Elementary School's cafeteria has extra-large helpings of adult supervision this week, with the annual Grandparents Day event underway and dozens of grandparents accepting the invitation to join their grandkids for lunch.
This year's arrangement has today as prime time for grandparents of second- and fifth-graders and had Monday aiming for those of 4-year-olds, first-graders and fourth-graders. Tuesday's emphasis was on those of 5-year-olds and third-graders.
"It's a blessing for us that we have grandkids," said visitor John McClellan, of Keyesville, Georgia. He and his wife, Diane, and their daughter, Stephanie Carswell, made the most of Tuesday's opportunity, visiting four Redcliffe students on their family tree, all Beech Island residents: Thomas Martin, a fifth-grader; Haley Strickland, third; Aaron Strickland, third; and Nevaeh Strickland in the pre-kindergarten program.
The McClellans said they currently have seven great-grandchildren and 14 grandchildren spread between South Carolina and Missouri. "You've got to have grandparents in your life. There ain't nothing like it," John said.
"I enjoy my grandkids. I'm proud of all of them," Diane added.
Terra van der Linden, Redcliffe's principal, wrote that the occasion is "a day for celebrating the connections between the generations." She added, "Their love and support is what makes Redcliffe such an amazing school and community."
"The students love it," said third-grade teacher Misty McConnell, a Jackson native who spent her elementary years at Redcliffe and has been at her current post since 2012.
"They're excited all day long and they're waiting patiently for lunchtime. They keep asking, all day, 'When is lunch? When is lunchtime?' They just look forward to it every time."
Tuesday's lunchtime had McConnell walking around the cafeteria taking pictures of students with their grandparents, as she remembered the occasions when her grandparents visited her a couple of decades ago.
She confirmed that the school is flexible in terms of this week's scheduling and that this week's guidelines are in place to minimize the likelihood of a traffic jam in the cafeteria, in the case of hundreds of grandparents showing up on the same day. The school currently serves about 735 students.