Jace Peiker, a fifth grader at Milbank Elementary School, won second place at the state level of  the 2024 Grandparent Essay Contest sponsored by... Jace Peiker’s Grandparent Essay Wins Second at State 

Jace Peiker, a fifth grader at Milbank Elementary School, won second place at the state level of  the 2024 Grandparent Essay Contest sponsored by AARP and South Dakota Retired School Personnel (SDRSP). His essay honored his grandfather Galen Bauman who lives in Watertown. Jace is the son of Colt and Chrissy Peiker from Revillo.

Jace’s essay was chosen from 750 entries submitted by fifth graders across South Dakota. In February, it was chosen as the local winner by Milbank Area Retired Teachers-Personnel Association (MARTA), and Jace was awarded a plaque and $150 from AARP and SDRSP.  The essay then advanced to the district competition, where it again took first place.  

Jace’s essay:
My grandfather’s name is Galen Bauman. He is a respected member of our family. He was born in Webster, SD and currently lives in Watertown, SD. He is 74 years old. He has always been a hard worker and has earned a strong name in his community. He built many stores, buildings and schools including the Redlin Art Center and First Bank and Trust. Galen is also a veteran that served in the Air Force in 1969-1973. He was drafted while attending South Dakota State University. Most recently, he is facing major health challenges. He is important to me because he has been a positive role model. I have watched him through his good days and when his health has recently declined. In this essay I will talk about the times we went to Rapid City to see family, camping with him every summer, and when l’ve stayed at his house.

First, I love to recall some memories we have made traveling to Rapid City. My extended family all goes to visit family and vacation. Grandpa Galen loves to ride along for the company. We get to stay in a hotel and he watches the kids swim. We have visited Mt. Rushmore and helped Grandpa walk up all the stairs to the viewing wall. Grandpa always has to bring his dog, Lucy, on the trip. The car ride is long, but this allows for laughing and sharing stories with Grandpa.

Second, I love to go camping with Grandpa. Grandpa usually camps close to Watertown. He will camp for a long time and invite me to stay in his camper. We have camp fires, grill burgers and swim at the lake. Grandpa is funny when he shoots flies with a salt gun or bug zapper. I hope I get to camp many more summers with Grandpa.

Third, I have been able to stay at Grandpa’s house frequently due to his health concerns. Grandpa hasn’t been able to mow or shovel snow due to leg wounds. I get to go help him do chores and earn money. We have surprised him with stayovers just to make him happy. I know he is lonely living alone.

Overall, Grandpa Galen is a fun, loving, honorable grandpa. I enjoy hearing his stories and hope to hear many more. I will always look up to him for being in the Air Force. I hope that my Grandpa and I can continue to have many opportunities to be together and make a lifetime of memories. I hope my grandparent is the AARP Grandparent of the Year.

Submitted Photo: Chrissy, Galen, Jace and Colt


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