Bertram Rantin

Rantin: A grand day for grandparents

Brishaiy Bolton's impressions of her grandparents exceed the birthday presents, Sunday-evening meals and everyday hugs and kisses.

These are things to be valued, for sure, but her reflections don't end there.

"There are times when it's not just about gifts and giving," Bolton said. "It's about the conversations we share, the needed advice or just that sweet 'I love you' I would like to hear every day."

On Thursday, the Lower Richland High School junior and her classmates said "I love you" back.

For the third year, the Richland 1 school gave grandparents the royal treatment during a celebration in their honor.

"We want to nurture the connection between grandparents and their children," said Sallie Lakin, Lower Richland's parent and community liaison. "We just take this opportunity to say thank you."

About 150 grandparents turned out for Thursday's program, which included breakfast, performances by some of the school's musical groups and student tributes.

"Just like I need love and affection from them, they need it from me," Bolton read from her essay to the gathering.

Her affection for her grandparents - Allen and Carolyn Green, who drove in from Savannah - was echoed by other students.

Lower Richland junior Lowell Dixon, who lives with his grandparents Larry and Wanda Hamilton, said he's already built some special memories of his times spent with them.

"They always help me through whatever I have going on," he said.

Dixon's grandmother said she was grateful for that affirmation, as well as the recognition. "It shows they're not just interested in the children but also those who have been there for them," she said.

Lower Richland principal Marvin Byers said Thursday's program was an affirmation of the strong relationships between seniors and students in the community. "It's basically just connecting the past to the present," Byers said.

Lakin said, since the school began the recognition program two years ago, there has been increased involvement among grandparents at the school.

That has been evident, she noted, by their attendance at school events and a more active role in monitoring student performance. And it's an involvement most students welcome, she added.

"When you talk to the students, you hear how much they love their grandparents," Lakin said.

Bolton said that's the message students hoped to convey Thursday. "Now they know that we appreciate them," she said.