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Just call her ‘Grandma’

Volunteer says it ‘feels like I’m standing in a whirlwind of fun’

Godwin — The bell rang and Charlotte M. Schullo immediately exited the kitchen area of West Godwin Elementary to head to the lunchroom where she stood by the condiments. 

“I have a friend that, if I am not there in the lunchroom, he waits for me to go out,” said the 90-year-old. 

She was talking about second-grader Carlos Moreno Alonzo, who likes routine, according to his aide. He is used to seeing Schullo, often referred to as Grandma Char, in the lunchroom when he comes in. 

A person of few words, Carlos’ eyes lit up and he gave a big smile at the mention of Grandma Char.

Charlotte M. Schullo wipes a table at West Godwin

Looking For Something To Do

Upon retiring from Dekker Bookbinding, a local bookmaker where Schullo worked for 30 years, she started looking around for something to do.

“It beats sitting home and watching the television all day,” she said.

She decided to apply to Chartwells, which oversees the food service at Godwin and several other districts. She lives in Wyoming, and was assigned to West Godwin 10 years ago.

“I love being with the children,” said Schullo, who has two daughters, five grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. 

“They are so much smarter than I ever was. They are so interesting and so knowledgeable that sometimes I feel like I am standing in a whirlwind of fun.”

Ask the students if they know Grandma Char and they don’t always recognize her name, but point her out and you get comments of “She’s kind” and “She’s nice.” Or “She always helps me with my ketchup.”

At her condiment station, Charlotte M. Schullo helps a student with the ketchup

“Char is a great worker,” said Linda Rigney, lunchroom lead. “She is always willing to do whatever is needed to get lunch out.”

Schullo does mostly prep work such as filling condiment and silverware containers. Rigney added at times she will help assemble hamburgers, which can total around 380. Schullo also wipes tables between lunch periods and helps with cleanup.

Godwin Heights Food Director Jamie Schumaker said Schullo works about four hours a day, Monday through Friday.

“She rarely misses a day,” Schumaker said. “When she does, the students are asking where she is.”

Charlotte M. Schullo, or Grandma Char, takes her place behind the condiment station as students enter the lunchroom

Special Orders Don’t Upset Her

A recent meal featured corn dogs and fries with condiments of ranch, mayonnaise and ketchup.

“I tell the students to call me Grandma because everybody loves their grandma,” Schullo told a visitor.

Second-grader Harley Longstreet asked Schullo a question, and Schullo left the condiment station briefly and disappeared into the kitchen, returning with two mustard bottles.

“She must have had a special request,” Schumaker said. 

Schullo returned to the waiting student and squirted mustard on her tray.

“Are you good?” she asked Harley, who nodded and walked away as Schullo resumed her condiment duties. 

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Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
Joanne Bailey-Boorsma is a reporter covering Kent ISD, Godwin Heights, Kelloggsville, Forest Hills and Comstock Park. The salutatorian for the Hartland Public Schools class of 1985, she changed her colors from blue and maize to green and white by attending Michigan State University, where she majored in journalism. Joanne moved to the Grand Rapids area in 1989, where she started her journalism career at the Advance Newspapers. She later became the editor for On-the-Town magazine, a local arts and entertainment publication. Her eldest daughter is a nurse, working in Holland, and her youngest attends Oakland University. Both are graduates from Byron Center High School. She is a volunteer for the Van Singel Fine Arts Advisory Board and the Kent District Library. In her free time, Joanne enjoys spending time with her family, checking out local theater and keeping up with all the exchange students they have hosted through the years. Read Joanne's full bio


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