More than 300 members of the community visited Buckeye Valley High School Friday morning for music and a meal as the school resumed its annual Senior Citizens Concert and Luncheon. The last time the event was held was in 2019.
High School Secretary Marjorie Harrell, one of the organizers of the event, said she felt it was important to bring the community back into the school.
“This feels amazing. It’s amazing to put it back on again,” Harrell said. “Honestly, when we started planning it, we thought it would be small and it’s not. It’s bigger than ever.”
Harrell said the event, which she feels helps teach students about giving back, was attended by about 325 senior citizens.
“I think it’s important for our students to be of service to the community, and it brings our community together,” Harrell said. “It just showcases what great kids we have here at Buckeye Valley. We were raised to be of service and to help people, and that’s something we’d like to pass along to young people.”
Harrell said she hopes the students serving food during the event made a positive impression on the attendees.
“I hope they see that BV teenagers care about them, appreciate them, and want to be of service to them,” she said.
Harrell added she appreciated the help of BVHS Principal Zachary Riggs, who supported the event’s return.
“I think one of the biggest draws about being part of Buckeye Valley is the community and the connection our school has to the community,” Riggs said. “We are always trying to find ways to make sure that community members, alumni, and families are involved in what we’re doing here at the school, and this is another way to welcome the community into our building.”
The event was the first for Riggs, who joined the district earlier this year.
“I really enjoyed seeing our students connected to service and giving,” Riggs said. “It’s always great to see the amount of support we have from our community members.”
Riggs said many of the people at the event no longer have any formal ties to the district, but he hopes they still feel welcomed.
“(I want them to) still feel like a part of our community,” he said.
Freshman Haley Bridge, who was one of the servers during the event, said she enjoyed the experience.
“It was great for the community,” Bridge said. “It was something for the senior citizens to feel welcomed, and it was a great opportunity for us to help them. I hope they go home with good thoughts of Buckeye Valley and see how there is good in the world.”
Junior Carson McComis said he enjoyed giving back to senior citizens during the luncheon.
“It’s great to serve the community and help other people out,” he said.
Sophomore Brie Upchurch said she didn’t get to know her own grandparents and enjoyed being able to talk with older adults.
“I enjoyed seeing everyone interact with each other and come together,” Upchurch said.
Tom Kaelber, who represents Buckeye Valley on the Delaware Area Career Center Board of Education, said seeing the event return was “wonderful.”
“It’s such a proud feeling being a BV graduate,” Kaelber said. “It’s just a great day for the BV community.”
Jane Oehler, who was a teacher at Buckeye Valley from 1970-2011, attended the event and said she believed it was actually her husband, former BVHS Principal Larry Oehler, who started the luncheon many years ago.
“I haven’t been here in a few years, and it was so fun to see the school thriving,” Oehler said. “It’s just a good place. I loved teaching here.”
Jeannie Hall, a former teacher and guidance counselor at Buckeye Valley for 25 years, said she was happy to attend the event and reconnect with the school.
“It’s great to come back and see the young people still jumping in and making it such a nice event for senior citizens,” Hall said. “It’s a great kick off for Christmas.”
Hall said it was nice to be part of the lunch after working on it so many times.
“It’s nice to see my former colleagues. We can come and sit instead of dishing out food,” Hall said.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.