Third-grader Sophia Robinson was looking forward to her first VIP day at Lincoln Elementary so much she didn’t have her mom take her temperature before coming into school.
Friday, March 15, marked Lincoln Elementary’s VIP Day, a day where students are allowed to bring an important adult in their life to the school for the day.
“Students have the opportunity to invite someone from the community in,” said Teresa Beenblossom, the school’s principal. “And it’s a really good way to showcase the building and get people in to meet the teachers and know what happens here at Lincoln.”
From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. through the day, students’ VIPs follow them around for the school day, are allowed to go out to downtown for lunch or stay in the school for Pizza Ranch pizza, and visit the book fair set up in the school library. The event is for third- through fifth-graders, who are allowed to bring in a VIP who is 18 or older, typically a family member. For Sophia, this family member was her mom, Belinda Robinson.
“I wanted my mom to come because it’s Very Important Person Day,” said Sophia. “And she’s a very important person to me.”
The mother-daughter pair went downtown to the Washington Chinese buffet Taste of China for lunch before heading back to the school and going to the book fair.
“I just love all the different activities they set up for the kids,” Belinda said. “They’re doing a play today special just for VIP day.”
According to Sophia, her class put on a skit about the Underground Railroad in which each of the students got a line. Sophia has two lines, though, because one of her classmates is gone.
“Every classroom teacher chooses what they want to do,” said Beenblosoom. “Some keep the same routine, some of them have done choral readings and they’ll present those.”
In the case of fifth-graders Leyah and Nadine Pesina they’re not allowed to say what they’re doing beforehand.
“I have to keep it a secret,” said Nadine of what she and her class are doing for VIP day, not wanting to reveal the surprise to their shared VIP, Nadine’s mom, Mari Pesina.
“Last year they did this chorus where they sang to everybody,” Mari recalls of her last visit for VIP day. “They even dedicated a song for the veterans, so that was pretty cool.”
Nadine’s favorite part of VIP day is eating; the three of them went to Subway for the day, while Leyah’s is the bookfair. This year she spotted a $5 horror book that looked interesting to her.
The book fair is one of two the school hosts through the regular school year. According to district librarian Joan Hippen, one book fair is held through parent-teacher conferences in the fall and the other is held just for VIP Day.
For VIP day, each class has a scheduled 30-minute time slot they get to come in and browse for. Though it’s only open for one day, Hippen estimates the sales they make come to at least $2,500.
“Basically we get half of that; we can choose to take a cash amount so we can donate to (the Parent Teacher Group). The ladies (volunteering) here are from PTG,” Hippen said. “In essence, all sales benefit Lincoln Elementary in one way or another.”
According to Beenblossom, most of the kids brought their own VIP for the day, but many of those who can’t were paired with a teacher, so as many kids as possible can have a very important person for the day.