Jose Sanchez wrote the winning essay in South Dakota’s 2023 Grandparent of the Year Contest. Jose learned he was the state winner today, Wednesday, April 19, along with his fifth-grade classmates and his teacher, Bailey Richter. His parents, Esther and Jeorge Ramirez, were also at the ceremony when he received the news.
In his essay, Jose explains that Doug Buri is his “adopted” grandparent in Milbank. Jose’s family is originally from Mexico, and Jose still has biological grandparents, but Buri has taken on the role of his grandfather in the US.
The award is designed to raise awareness of the more than 8,000 South Dakota children who live in grandparent-headed households and to acknowledge the important contributions made by grandparents. The annual contest is sponsored by South Dakota Retired School Personnel (SDRSP) – an affiliate of the National Retired Teachers Association, the education community of AARP.
According to Rhonda Preller, president of the Milbank Retired Teachers-Personnel Association (MARTA), Jose was selected as the first-place winner in the local contest sponsored by MARTA. His essay then advanced to the state level, where it was chosen as the top essay in South Dakota.
Jose receives a $250 prize and will read his essay at the SDRSP state convention on May 3 in Deadwood. Buri, and his wife, Linda, plan to travel to Deadwood to help cheer on Jose. They were unable to attend today’s ceremony in Milbank as they were in Arizona.
Milbank’s top place winners in the local 2023 Grandparent Essay Contest:
1st Place: Jose Sanchez
2nd Place: Haylen Schneck
3rd Place: Kendra Grong
Jose’s winning essay in its entirety:
Photos: Top- Jeorge, Doug and Linda Buri (on phone) Jose & Esther. Middle- Jose and his teacher, Bailey Richter. Bottom- Haylen Schneck, Jose Sanchez and Kendra Grong.