- Sponsorship -

Grandpa for the win

Persuasive writing contest selects teacher’s costume

Fifth grader Taylor Graham, dressed as soccer star Alex Morgan, persuaded teacher Matt Jablonski to come to school for Halloween dressed as a grandpa

Murray Lake Elementary teacher Matt Jablonski hobbled into class on Friday using a cane. With his grey hair and beard, fake glasses and a little louder voice than usual (because of his fading hearing; get it?), Jablonski had seemingly become a grandfather overnight.

Classmates of Taylor Graham had her to thank for their teacher’s costume. Taylor submitted what Jablonski determined to be the most solid written argument among the class. For the past few years, that’s how he has decided what to wear for Halloween.

“It’s always fun because they never know who won until the moment I walk into the classroom,” he said.

The persuasive writing assignment is part of the fifth grade opinion writing unit. Students were charged with coming up with an idea for a costume, supporting the idea with whys, and using evidence, facts and details.

Teacher Matt Jablonski with last year’s winner, McGuire Carpenter. Jablonski dressed up as Jim Harbaugh, University of Michigan head football coach (courtesy photo)

“I had a lot of ideas,” Taylor said. “Grandpa was the funniest thing I could think of for him to be.”

The costume could have been decidedly different had Jablonski gone with any other student’s suggestion. Like Mady Hayes and Brooklyn Haywood’s idea that he dress as a University of Michigan cheerleader. Or Jahlin Clemenshaw: “a lightbulb with an afro clown wig.” Or Jacqui Hoke, who came up with “a donut, with a swirly frosting hat and fake felt sprinkles (because) I have never seen a human donut before.”

Maybe next year, Mr. Jablonski.

- Sponsorship -
Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema is a reporter and copy editor, covering East Grand Rapids, Forest Hills and Northview. She is a Grand Rapids native and a product of Grand Rapids Public Schools, including Brookside and West Leonard elementaries, City Middle/High School and Ottawa Hills. She found her tribe in journalism in 1997 and has never wanted to do anything but write. For 15 years she was a freelance journalist for The Grand Rapids Press, covering local schools and government, religion, business, home & garden and lifestyles. She and her husband, John, think even those without kiddos should be invested in their local schools and made to feel a part of them. Read Morgan's full bio or email Morgan.


Fourth-grade hockey fan gets a magical hour on ice: ‘I made the shot!’

Raised as a Red Wings and Grand Rapids Griffins hockey fan, Jackson Solow lights up while skating on an ice rink wearing his favorite hockey jersey...

‘This time it is continued learning’

One school’s switch from in-person to virtual education last week was nearly seamless, especially when compared with the forced school closure in March...

Foundation grants $28,285 in fall funding requests

Virtual phys ed and art experiences, materials to improve classroom focus and books on social issues aimed at middle-schoolers are among the grants approved this fall...

Latest school closings expand on state-ordered high school mandate

More Kent County districts continue to announce temporary school building closures, as schools contend with a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in Kent County and Michigan...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Education foundation awards 16 teacher requests for funding, totaling nearly $12,900

Some $12,000 in available grant funds remain, and may go to spring mini-grants or to fund requests that arise this year due to COVID-19 uncertainty...

This trail leads to kindness

More than 300 student-painted rocks were hidden along the trailway near school as part of an elementary orienteering lesson...

Secondary schools go back to hybrid for three weeks

Lowell Middle and High schools are returning to a hybrid learning schedule beginning Monday, Nov. 2...
- Sponsorship -


Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...


Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -


Maranda Where You LiveWGVU