Foster Grandma Leona shares her love and wisdom
Every day, Foster Grandma Leona Porter spends time in Mr. Mehl's classroom, helping students with their Accelerated Math. She sits at a small horseshoe table where five students immediately gravitate to her and begin to work diligently on their math problems.
"How are you doing today?" she asks each student. "I'm good, Grandma," a student replies, "But I need some help with this."
She leans over and scans the student's math worksheet, then gently scolds him for doodling in the margins. "That's where you should show your work, not doodle," she says in a stern, yet gentle voice. They work together on solving the problem. A big smile emerges on the student's face when he finishes the problem, along with a "Thank you, Grandma Leona."
What Grandma Leona brings to the classroom is beyond measure. She is there to help students when Mr. Mehl is busy with other students. But most importantly, she nurtures students with her knowledge and her grandmotherly love and presence.
Often, Mr. Mehl will ask Grandma Leona to stand in front of the class and share "words of wisdom." Sometimes, she'll share stories about when she was a little girl attending a one-room country school, or perhaps, a simple pep talk. "Keep working hard on your math problems. You're doing great!"
Grandma Leona, 82, is no stranger to Wadena-Deer Creek Schools. She served as a dedicated paraprofessional for 39 years, the majority of that time at Deer Creek School. She's volunteered as a Foster Grandparent for past eight years now.
"I love working with children," said Grandma Leona, who can be seen walking outdoors every day--no matter the weather--around the school's sidewalks. Mr. Mehl will ask a couple of students to walk with her. Students beg to walk with Grandma Leona because it's a privilege, an honor. But mostly, because they love her.
Her positive outlook, her one-on-one tutoring, and her compassion are extraordinary. Thank you, Grandma Leona, for sharing your love, time and experience with our students. You've already left footprints on our hearts forever!