ELKO – What do students at Grammar No. 2 have in common with Highland Village resident Barbara Beal? On Wednesday, it was the number 100.
About 340 students, along with faculty and staff of Grammar No. 2, celebrated the 100th day of school with Beal, who will turn 100 on Aug. 29.
The children sang “Happy Birthday” to Beal and each grade presented gifts to her, including handmade hearts and flowers. Second grader Hagen Robinson read a poem that gave the amount of days, hours and minutes within 100 years.
“One hundred years of love and laughter, 36,525 days, 876,600 hours, 52,596,000 minutes, four amazing children, four beautiful grandchildren, five loving great-grandchildren and one blessed family all because of you.”
A slideshow was presented during the assembly that included facts and history about 1918 and photographs of cars, schools and how people dressed along with photos of Elko landmarks from that era.
Beal told the students she was happy to be at Grammar and to be turning 100 years old, explaining what life was like for her as a child growing up in southern California.
“When I went to school, boys and girls at recess couldn’t play together and we had to wear a uniform,” Beal said. “We didn’t have TV or telephones or things like that … but we had fun roller-skating and riding scooters.”
After the assembly, Beal said she thought the children were “wonderful.”
“I love children and every one of them is just adorable,” Beal said. “They are so pleased to give somebody something. They look you right in the eye and they say, ‘Happy Birthday.’”
First grade teacher Gretchen Lutes said she organized the program with second grade teacher Christy DeBray after learning about Beal from Grammar employee Becky Cummings, who is Beal’s daughter.
Lutes said she, DeBray and Cummings thought it was important for children to see Beal, who will turn 100, “because it’s not that common to know someone” who is approaching that age.
“We definitely want to recognize her because it’s a big deal to be 100,” Lutes said.
Principal Sean Stanton agreed with Lutes about the opportunity for students to meet Beal, which was a change from previous years that honored the school’s 100th day of school.
“We thought that would be fun for the kids to see what that looks like,” Stanton said, explaining that in previous years, students would celebrate the 100th day milestone with a one hundred year-old person dress-up day and activities.
Cummings said a larger celebration is planned on Beal’s actual birthday, noting that the celebration Wednesday was in honor of Beal’s birth year.
The school’s 100-day achievement was also something to be recognized, said DeBray, telling the children they were now “100 days smarter.”
“You’ve learned many things in these last 100 days,” DeBray said. “You’ve worked hard and had a positive attitude.”
James Cummings, 6, attended the assembly with his kindergarten class taught by Christa Bair. His class and some of the first graders gave Beal cutouts of Hershey’s Kiss candy and a bag of Kisses.
“I thought it was pretty cool,” said Cummings about meeting Beal.
Gifts to Beal were presented by each student one at a time. After the kindergartners and first graders, first and second graders gave her hearts on paper doilies, third graders read a character trait for being a good citizen, and fourth graders handed Beal a carnation.
“The carnations were a donation by Raley’s,” Lutes said, adding that the PTA made cupcakes for the event which were given to all of the students at the end of the assembly.