AARP Kentucky and Kentucky Retired Teachers Association (KRTA) presented the 8th Annual “AARP Kentucky Grandparent of the Year” award to 10 year-old Brianna Coleman and recognized her grandfather, Warren Blake Kilgore of Elkhorn City, KY. The Millard School (Millard, KY) student’s grandfather was the subject of her winning essay “Why My Pappy Should be the AARP Grandparent of the Year.”
Her essay was selected from some eight thousand entries across 224 schools in 84 Kentucky counties. Ashley Hunt teaches Brianna’s 5th grade class at the Millard School and encouraged her students to write about their grandparents. "I'm proud of Brianna’s work and know everyone in our Millard School family is, too. When students write about their personal experience or someone they love, it helps them develop as a writer," said Ms. Hunt.
Brianna says she has always wanted to be a writer and her grandfather’s life and his caregiving inspired her to enter her essay in the annual contest. According to Brianna, “I tried to put into words what is truly better felt …he’s been my shelter of love.”
Mr. Kilgore was also honored as the Grandparent of the Year at the ceremony. When asked why Brianna chose to write about her “Pappy”, she said, “Because he deserved it... he’s an extraordinary person…and I don’t know what “Granny” or I would do without him.” Even while dealing with his own coal mining related health issues, Walter made the time to make certain that Brianna made it to school, sports practices, dances and sleep-overs.
The annual contest highlights relationships between grandparents and their grandchildren. Some 75,000 children live with their grandparents in Kentucky and their needs are supported by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ KinCare outreach.
AARP and KRTA share a long history and worked together eight years ago to establish the annual contest “AARP/KRTA Grandparent of the Year.” Judging is based on grammar, form, neatness; creativity, expression and characteristics of the grandparent. The judging is conducted by KRTA local members and the state winner is chosen by a panel of AARP and KRTA representatives.
Brianna and her family traveled to Louisville to receive the award and be honored by AARP at KRTA’s annual convention. The award includes a special plaque for Mr. Kilgore and Brianna received a $100 savings bond.
AARP Kentucky President Nelda Barnett, KRTA President Cebert Gilbert and AARP/KRTA Liaison, Neal Tucker presented Kelsey’s award before an audience of hundreds of retired educators. Watch Brianna deliver her essay at the AARP Kentucky YouTube Channel.
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