October 25, 2014
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Grandma Gloria and her 45 ‘grandchildren’
Jennifer Rodrigues
Jennifer Rodrigues
GRANDMA TO ALL: Gloria Walker is all smiles as her loving “grandchildren” surround her at John Wickes Elementary School, where Walker is a “foster grandmother.”

To celebrate the end of the school year, the first graders at John Wickes Elementary School were treated to a graduation pizza party Friday courtesy of their grandmother, Gloria Walker.

Walker is a member of the federal Foster Grandparents Program, and for 11 years the first graders who pass through the school have known her as “Grandma Gloria.”

Walker joined the program because she has always loved to be around children and this allows her to spend the entire school year helping out in the classroom. This year, she worked mainly with Jennifer Travison and Sarah Myers’ classes.

Five years ago, Walker decided to give her beloved “grandchildren” a proper end of the year celebration. She provided pizza for her classes, and the students have the opportunity to celebrate the end of their school year.

This year, close to 45 students took part in the fun, which featured party pizza, popcorn and fruit punch with tropical drink umbrellas on the straws. In addition to Travison and Myers’ classes, Walker invited Meghan Strough’s class to come as well.

“It’s something nice for them,” said Walker. “It’s something they remember. It’s much better than a dollar toy from the dollar store.”

While she enjoys working with the children, her position as grandma extends to the adults.

“The teachers become like daughters,” said Walker, explaining that she has developed close relationships with all the first grade teachers over the years.

Walker will keep busy this summer, visiting the four senior centers she is a member of and helping both family and neighbors. But she cannot wait to get back to Wickes Elementary next fall and gain another group of adorable grandchildren.


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