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Grandmother Teaches 5th Grader to Love Again

Autumn Campbell of Monticello received AARP Kentucky’s top honors in the 2012 Grandparent of the Year essay contest sponsored by Kentucky Retired Teachers Association (KRTA) with AARP Kentucky.

See Also: Grandparenting Resources

Campbell and her grandmother, Donna Loukes, received their awards at the 11th Annual “AARP Kentucky Grandparent of the Year” ceremony in Louisville. The Turner Intermediate School (Monticello) student’s grandmother was the subject of the winning essay “Why My Grandparent Should be the AARP Grandparent of the Year - Grams taught me to love again.”

“Grams taught me to love again,” wrote the girl, whose parents died two years apart, both before her 11th birthday.

According to Campbell, “My Grams has been like a mother to me,” and said she just wanted to “tell her grandmother’s story to everyone, she deserved this award.” More than 6 million people nationwide have grandchildren younger than 18 living with them.

Campbell’s essay was selected from thousands of student entries across 230 schools in 89 Kentucky counties. Turner Intermediate 5th grade teacher, Karie Rains, encouraged Campbell and her students to write about their grandparents. "I'm excited for Autumn, she’s a wonderful writer and deserves this award,” said Rains. Family Youth Resource Center Director Debbie Crowley assisted Campbell with the editing process and joined in the celebration.

The annual contest highlights the nurturing relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren. “The essay contest is an important way to make the public more aware of how important grandparents are in the lives of children,” said AARP Kentucky’s KRTA volunteer liaison, Neal Tucker of Morganfield.

AARP and KRTA share a long collaborative history in the state and continue to work together to grow the annual essay contest. Judging is based on grammar, form, neatness, creativity, expression and characteristics of the grandparent. Local volunteers from KRTA’s 118 Units facilitate the contest and the winner is selected by a panel of AARP and KRTA representatives.

Campbell received a $100 award and special plaque and Mrs. Loukes received a commemorative award from AARP. AARP Kentucky President James T. Kimbrough, KRTA President Edwin Cook and AARP/KRTA Liaison Neal Tucker presented the awards before an audience of hundreds of retired educators.

  • To see Campbell’s essay and watch her read it, visit AARP Kentucky on Facebook
  • Read more on KRTA.
  • Learn more about ways to give back in your community.

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