Bailey Schwagel, daughter of John and Hillary Schwagel, won first place in the 2020 Grandparent Essay Contest sponsored by the Milbank Area Retired Teachers... Karen Layher Named 2020 Milbank Grandparent Of The Year

Bailey Schwagel, daughter of John and Hillary Schwagel, won first place in the 2020 Grandparent Essay Contest sponsored by the Milbank Area Retired Teachers Association (MARTA). Milbank’s second-place winner was Morgean French and third place went to Yani Aide Perez Montes. The top three local winners will receive medals.

Schwagel’s essay was chosen from over 70 submitted to MARTA this year and featured her grandmother Karen Layher. The essay also competed at the Regions in the contest sponsored by AARP and the South Dakota Retired School Personnel (SDRSP). Due to the Coronavirus, the 2020 State Convention in Deadwood was cancelled.

Since 2003, South Dakota AARP and the SDRTA have co-sponsored the contest to raise awareness of the more than 8,000 children in South Dakota who live in grandparent-headed households and to acknowledge the important role grandparents play in the development of children. This year, more than 1,200 South Dakota fifth graders composed and submitted essays.

Read Bailey Schwagel’s essay here:

My Grandma Karen Layher should be AARP Grandparent of the Year because she is kind hearted and loving. Grandma was born and raised in Milbank, South Dakota. She is the best baker in the world. Her cookies and banana bread are amazing. Grandma loves to read and is a wonderful role model. My grandma makes me feel happy when there is nothing to be happy about. Grandma helps me with homework and anything I need help with. She is the person that gets me through hard times and is the shoulder to cry on when I’m sad or scared.

My Grandma always helps me. When I was at the State Horse Show, my grandma helped me and was so happy when I won second place in trail. We also like to make hot chocolate and add marshmallows to it, in the winter. My grandma and I like to make cookies, banana bread, and brownies together. We also do crafts together that I show at 4-H. My grandma likes to tell me jokes and I like to tell her jokes. One of them is, “Why can’t a bike stand on its own? It’s two tired.”

Grandma makes our days special. My grandma takes me and my sisters out for ice cream and supper. She loves Christmas, she always decorates her house and even has Christmas toilet paper. She makes me laugh when I feel gloomy and grey. My grandma always comforts me in hard times such as when I lost my brother. One time, when my sister and I found baby kittens, we wanted to bring them in our house. Mom said, “No.” My grandma let us bring one of the kittens in her house instead. My grandma loves animals.

My grandma and I love to spend time together. We watch America’s Got Talent. She goes with me outside to feed the horses apples and horse treats. Grandma likes to play games with me and my family. Sometimes she lets us sleep over and we watch movies before bed. In the morning, she makes chocolate chip pancakes.

These are only some of the reasons why I think my grandma should be AARP Grandparent of the Year. Grandma is the best grandma I could ever have, and she will always be the best. That is why I chose my grandma for my essay.

Staff Writer

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