- Sponsorship -

Grandparents and other visitors pack the house on special persons’ day

Students and guests enjoy donuts, music and Model A’s

Kenowa Hills — Trinity Perkins is a kindergartner at Zinser Elementary, the same school her grandma, Lisa DePuische, went to when she was her age.

“What was your favorite sport to play in school?” Trinity asked DePuische.

“I played tennis, softball and volleyball,” her grandmother said.

Trinity wrote her answers on her grandparents and V.I.P. interview paper while sitting in her classroom. She also learned her grandma’s favorite holiday is Christmas. 

Zinser’s classrooms, hallways and common spaces were bursting with almost 300 grandparents and other family members for a fun-filled morning recently. 

Before 8 a.m., students and their special guests lined up at the front door and across the parking lot. The line to reach the donut table wrapped through the cafeteria and down the main hallway.

“This is easily the most people we’ve had in this building, ever,” Principal Ross Willick said. “It’s such a good problem to have for so many families to join us for our special persons’ day.”

This was Zinser’s first school-wide event for families since 2016, and it was a doozy. 

Donuts, Music and Automobiles 

Stomachs full of donuts, students and their guests dispersed to participate in a variety of activities. In the gym, families of fifth-graders filed into the bleachers to hear a musical performance, featuring voices singing, ukulele and guitar strumming and drums to keep the beat.

Elsewhere, kindergartners colored and played word games with their grandmas and grandpas, and students paraded their “special people” around their classrooms to show off their desks and book boxes.

First-grader Hunter Virkstis learned a lesson from his grandpa Mark about telling “dad jokes.”

“Where do you think dad jokes come from? Dads who become grandpas,”  his grandfather said. 

First- through fourth-graders colored pictures of trucks and cars with their “mimis,” “nanas,” “pops” and “papas.”

As the second main event for their visitors, Zinser hosted members of the Portside and Grand A’s Model A Clubs in their parking lot, with eight Ford Model A cars.

Teachers played a video for their individual classes about Henry Ford, the evolution of the assembly line and how the success of the Model T inspired the company to engineer the Model A. For fourth-graders, this connected to their current social studies unit on mass production.

After people were released in groups to go outside and see the cars, one grandparent was heard to say, “These cars are older than I am.”

Students were able to sit inside some of the cars, take photos and even honk the horn.

One first-grader discovered, “They don’t even have seat belts!”

With a line down the hallway and out the front door of Zinser Elementary, students and their grandparents were eager to get donuts


Kindergartner Trinity Perkins smiles for the camera while munching on donuts with her grandma and grandpa


Zinser Elementary families were invited to explore the courtyard and spot the turtles in the pond


From left, second-grader McKenna Wierzbicki and her brother, first-grader Liam, sit across from kindergartner Arya Marcinski, all joined by their grandparents


First-grader Hunter Virkstis, in baseball cap, colors pictures of the Model A automobile with his ‘Mimi’ Susan, grandpa Mark and classmate Joey Devereaux


From left, Dan DePuische, Lisa DePuische, kindergartner Trinity Perkins and Deb Perkins in Trinity’s classroom


Music teacher Lauria Majchrzak plays ukulele along with her fifth-grade music students


First- and fourth-grade students and their grandparents watched a video about Henry Ford and the Model A before seeing real Model A’s in Zinser’s parking lot


Members of the Muskegon Model A Club brought eight Model A cars to Zinser for students and their grandparents to see


Zinser Elementary staff, students and their families explored the Model A’s in the parking lot after learning about them in class

Read more from Kenowa Hills: 
Compact branches pop up outside district elementary schools   
Becoming Knights who know nutrition 

- Sponsorship -
Alexis Stark
Alexis Stark
Alexis Stark is a reporter covering Byron Center, Caledonia, Godfrey-Lee, Kenowa Hills and Thornapple Kellogg. She grew up in metro Detroit and her journalism journey brought her west to Grand Rapids via Michigan State University where she covered features and campus news for The State News. She also co-authored three 100-question guides to increase understanding and awareness of various human identities, through the MSU School of Journalism. Following graduation, she worked as a beat reporter for The Ann Arbor News, covering stories on education, community, prison arts and poetry, before finding her calling in education reporting and landing at SNN. Alexis is also the author of a poetry chapbook, “Learning to Sleep in the Middle of the Bed.”


Related Articles

- Sponsorship -

Issues in Education

Making Headlines

- Sponsorship -


Maranda Where You Live WGVU