By Jake Weber
"Evan's only complaint is that this isn't longer. I told him, 'You have to remember, Grandma can't take much more,'" laughs Reva Wujcik, '61, describing the experience at Albion's second Grandparents College. "There's even more to do this year than last year. We're just loving it."
Nearly 50 participants spent June 22-24 on campus, participating in classes chosen to appeal to grandparents and grandchildren ages 8 to 12. The 15 classes offered by Albion College faculty and staff ranged from constructing bat houses and conducting chemistry experiments to writing original doo-wop songs and developing baseball skills.
"The classes are lots of fun and you're learning great things. For instance I learned that doing theatre makeup takes a long time," enthused Rachel Brogee, granddaughter of Ruth Ann Stover, '72. Learning to create black eyes and skinned knees was enlightening for other participants, too. "I'm really interested in theatre and I do dance so I wanted to learn makeup," added Megan Arntz, granddaughter of professor emeritus Bob Armstrong. "It's easier than I thought it would be, but it does take a long time."
"It's wonderful to have my granddaughter all to myself," commented Stover, noting that one of her favorite experiences was "When You Wish Upon a Star," a class taught by Vicki Baker, assistant professor of economics and management and interim director of the Gerstacker Institute. "We looked at portions of 'Toy Story' and she used it to illustrate examples of leadership. Her discussion with the kids was thought-provoking for them and gave them a great example of what it will be like to be in a college environment. At this age, to start learning those kinds of principles was great."
"I'd love to sit in on one of her college classes," added Arntz's grandmother, Bobbie Armstrong.
Many other connections were made throughout the three-day event.
"In 1922, my parents went canoeing in Albion; on our first date, we went canoeing on that river," said Marjory Priest, '57, attending with husband Donald, '58, and granddaughter Danielle. "Last night we took Dannie canoeing. There's a lot of history on that river.
"She's our last grandchild," Priest continued. "We're hoping to get her to go here."
Wujcik noted that the mixed-age social atmosphere of Grandparents College offers a special experience for the young participants. "This is a group with such positive energy. It's remarkable to see these kids, who hardly know each other, form a group that's giving all this positive energy.
"With middle schoolers, you don’t know from one day to the next what will interest them," Wujcik concluded. "But ever since we came last year, Evan's been looking forward to this year. It's just great."