While warmer weather has certainly taken its time coming to the Midwest this spring, a warm welcome was easy to find on the PA campus during the annual Grandparents’ and Special Persons’ Day. On Friday April 22nd Providence Academy Upper School hosted the first Grandparents Day in 3 years! Over the course of two days, between Lower, Middle, and Upper School divisions, PA welcomed nearly 700 guests to campus. Schedules were packed with welcoming and engaging events from start to finish.

Mckennah Anderson’25 seen in a heartwarming greeting with her grandma.

After grandparents were greeted by their students in the PAC lobby and given corsages, each division offered a glimpse of the curriculum, with a spin on lesson plans so guests could engage with current student material.

Lower schoolers worked on art projects, performed a fun Minnesota song, and shared Minnesota facts. Middle school students worked on logic puzzles in math, interviewed Granparents in History to learn “where [they] were when…”, and showed off translation skills in Latin. Upper schoolers put on mini theatrical productions, engaged in debates, and even gave Grandparents and special persons a tutorial on how to use graphic calculators.

PA Faculty Mrs. Claire Roden expressed “We were happy to have such a great turnout, but number of attendees did present some challenges.” Custodial staff worked overtime to make sure classrooms had enough seats while faculty and students parked off site to free up spaces and give special persons red carpet treatment. To help accommodate guests of honor, parents, staff, and even students volunteered to help with photo booths, set up, and tours around the school.

Historically, special guests have enjoyed a famously delicious PA Lunch. One drawback about welcoming so many PA community members on site at the same time is that the PA Great Room couldn’t entertain so many people at once.

Wrede lamented, “Unfortunately, due to the number of people, we had to do away with lunch and take a more coffee and pastries approach.” The inability to dine with guests is certainly a bummer for students and guests alike, but it’s likely that the upward trend in attendees will continue in the future.

With the increase in numbers, staff are looking into other ways to keep the day special and improve the experience for all involved. Looking ahead Mr. Wrede said, “I’m hoping in later years lower school students will perform in some way for their grandparents in the PAC.” He added, “I would love to bring back the opportunity for teachers and specialists to interact with grandparents.”

Ellie and Chase Millerbernd with their grandparents Michael and Barb Stence.

First-grade teacher (and PA parent), Mrs. Sarah Millerbernd is no stranger to the events of Grandparents’ Day. “My parents have come to visit for Grandparents’ Day for 14 years, but I think this year was more special due to not having it these past couple of years.”

Millerbern reflected, “I think it is very important for Grandparents/special persons to see where these kids spend a majority of their time every day.”

Mrs. Carol Berg, grandmother of Clare Kistler ’24 echoed her sentiments. Berg shared, “The best part of being here was getting to spend time with Clare in such a beautiful place.” Kistler is new to PA this year and enrolled in Moral Theology as well as Studio Art II.

Clare Kistler with her grandparents Mr. and Mrs. Berg visiting with a family friend (and PA parent) Mrs. Jennifer Tomaschko

“My grandparents really enjoyed talking to Dr. [Arthur] Hippler because my uncle attended Thomas Aquinas College with him, but I really enjoyed showing them the Art Studio,” Kistler remarked.

“We love to see how far the school goes to make us feel welcome and loved. The beauty and faith of this school gives us hope,” concluded Berg.