The cafeteria of Soule Road Elementary School in Liverpool was packed with fourth graders and family members of all ages Tuesday Nov. 24 as they celebrated their annual Special Ancestor Day.
Planning for the event began in early October, when the fourth grade students were asked to choose a living ancestor to interview about what life was like when they were growing up. The students then wrote essays in class based on the interviews with these family members, explained Greg Roth, a fourth grade teacher at Soule Road.
On Special Ancestor Day, the family members were invited to the school to be honored by the students with tribute essays, songs prepared by the students, and snacks. A display of artifacts contributed by the ancestors was also on display.
Two students from each fourth grade class were selected to read their tribute essays to the audience. They included Natalie Tauro, Danny Chilbert, Lauren Rachetta, Danny Tracy, Cabry Hildmann and Megan Allen.
Allen chose to interview her great-grandmother, Dolores Rine of Buffalo, N.Y., for her special ancestor.
"When she was younger, candy cost five cents, and she used to play hide-n-seek," Allen read. "And the best piece of advice she gave me was to love one another and always try your best." Allen said chose to interview her great-grandmother because she thought it would be fun to learn about family history from so long ago. And while she learned a great deal about what life was like in the past, Allen said she enjoys growing up today.
"When she called me up to interview me, I felt very old," Rine said with a laugh. "I'm glad she interviewed me, though. It made me stop and think, and then I started remembering all these different memories to tell her."
Special Ancestor Day is held each year the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, since many family members travel to town for the holidays, said Roth. Because the event involves music, artwork, and writing, it provides something for everyone to enjoy.
"The interview and tribute essay for Special Ancestor Day is much more than an assignment," said Roth. "It gives the students a chance to focus on the time spent and words shared with their family members."