Bailey Schwagel and Samuel Garcia were selected as the winners of the grandparent essay contest sponsored by the Milbank Area Retired Teachers Association (MARTA).... Karen Layher and Vicki Strege Honored as Grandparents of The Year

Bailey Schwagel and Samuel Garcia were selected as the winners of the grandparent essay contest sponsored by the Milbank Area Retired Teachers Association (MARTA). Schwagel, the 2020 winner, honored her grandmother Karen Layher. Garcia, the 2021 winner, honored his grandmother Vicki Strege. 
The essayists and their grandmothers were guests at the June 17 MARTA meeting, where the students read their winning compositions. The essays in their entirety are printed below:

Following is Sam’s 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.

Following is Bailey’s essay about her grandmother, Karen Layher:

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.


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