Samuel Garcia was selected as the first-place winner in the 2021 Grandparent Essay Contest. Samuel nominated his grandmother Vicki Strege. Bree Townsend earned second-place honors and Bently Moser took third.
Since 2003, AARP South Dakota and the South Dakota Retired Teachers Association have cosponsored the annual essay contest for South Dakota fifth graders. The contest raises awareness of the more than 8,000 children in South Dakota who live in households headed by a grandparent, and acknowledges the important role grandparents play in the lives of their grandchildren.
This year the State was unable to host their annual contest due to Covid but the Milbank 5th grade teachers in cooperation with the Milbank Area Retired Teachers/Personnel Association (MARTA) sponsored the event.
Following is Sam’s complete essay about his grandmother, Vicki Strege:
My Grandma Vicki Strege has taught and touched many lives and should be the AARP Grandparent of the Year. I chose my grandma because she is special to me, she cares and loves every human being on this planet good or bad. If I’m being honest she’s the closest grandparent I have because she lives in Milbank and I get to spend time with her. I wrote about my grandma because she does a lot of things with me like sewing, cooking, biking and lets us camp at her house with my cousins.
My grandma was a Home Economics teacher for many years, this is why I believe she is obsessed with sewing. She loves to sew and is teaching me to sew a little bit. One time we made oven mits. I am kind of starting to get the hang of it, and I think it’s kind of fun.
Grandma also likes to cook. She cooks a variety of meals and they are delicious. My favorite thing she cooks is hamburgers because she makes them medium rare. She has taught me to make boxed mac and cheese. Whenever my family and my cousins are over she gets everyone else their food before she eats. We will be almost done with our meals before she starts eating. She puts everyone before herself.
My grandma likes to take a ride on her bike when it is a beautiful summer day. There is a chance that you will remember her and her bike because it is navy blue and has a basket on the front. She rides everywhere, around the park, her block and with me and my cousin.
My grandmother is absolutely obsessed with her flowers in her garden. She is never impressed with us if we accidentally destroy one of them. She’s spends a lot of time in her garden and sometimes she will ask me to help.
Every summer my grandma does a Grandma Camp. All of her grandsons will come to town and camp at her house. She does a separate camp for the girls. In 2020 she called it camp Covid which I thought was funny. During this camp, we usually go to Hartford Beach to swim, fish and all sorts of stuff. She helps us sew and bake some amazing things. We play board games and spend time with each other.
Grandma was a teacher at the Milbank Middle School and High School. Believe it or not, she taught my teacher Mrs. Mielitz in eighth grade Home Economics. My grandma taught other classes like Spanish and is teaching me some Spanish now which is pretty fun to learn. Grandma retired a couple of years ago but always keeps busy.
I believe my grandma is the best grandma I could have asked for. I believe my Grandma Vicki Strege should be the AARP grandparent of the year.
Submitted Photos: Grandma Strege and Samuel Photo #2: Bree Townsend and Bently Moser.