Generations crossed paths as Buckeye Valley High School students welcomed 300 grandparents and senior citizens to the annual Senior Citizen Day luncheon and concert last Friday.
“This is one of my favorite days of the year at Buckeye Valley,” said Superintendent Andrew Miller. “It’s just a great day.”
Miller said it’s good for the seniors to get a chance to see the kids and the older folks like the concerts. He said the kids love it as well by serving their grandparents lunch.
Doug Joseph, the teacher who started the event, said it began in 1984 when students started to invite their grandparents to lunch in the cafeteria. He said at the time there were about 15 grandparents.
“Then in 1992 or 1993 we got a new principal who asked if we could make it bigger,” he said. “So, the next year we had 50, then the following year was about 100 and then we started going like crazy with 200 to 300 people.”
Joseph said in the last 14 years, the school has hosted 300-plus senior citizens every year. He said the luncheon had to be moved to the auxiliary gym.
“I think we had close to 300 reservations for this one,” he said. “They start calling in early November.”
Joseph said he told those in charge of this year’s event to expect the first guests to show up at 8:45 a.m.
“At nine o’clock the first ones walked in,” he said. “Some of these people were here the first time we did it in 1984.”
After being treated to a concert and choral performance, the crowd went to the auxiliary gym for lunch. Students lined up with a plate in each hand at the serving tables for faculty, staff, and administration to load the plates with food. Students then walked the loaded plates over to the senior citizens waiting at the tables.
“This is a just great day,” Joseph said. “Look around. How can you not like this?”
Vic Griffin said it was his first time attending the luncheon and that he had been invited by his granddaughter, Ryan Haney.
“This is the first time my grandchildren have been involved,” he said.
Griffin said he found the performances by the band and choir to be special because Haney performed with both.
“When you have somebody very important to you, like a granddaughter, it becomes really special,” he said. “It’s something magical, at the beginning of the concert, it kind of stimulates you into the holiday spirit because of so many young people being involved.”
Haney said she invited her grandfather because, “I really wanted him to come see us and I think it’s important to have that outreach to the community.”
It was also Connie Herd’s first year to attend the event. She went with her granddaughters, Cameron and Hayle Romo.
“My granddaughter is a senior this year and she invited me,” she said. “It’s fantastic, the band was wonderful, the choir was magnificent, and the dinner was great.”
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.