HUNTINGTON BEACH : Grandparents Share Experiences in Class

She rode a Shetland pony to school, shared a single classroom with students in all grades, and had not yet dreamed of computers or calculators.

"We had to learn times tables," 70-year-old Margaret Hufft of Laguna Hills told fourth-grade students at Isojiro Oka Elementary School, where she was one of several hundred special guests on Tuesday.

Hufft, the grandmother of student Annmarie Tiffany, 9, was among those invited to visit their grandchildren's classrooms, meet their teachers and share their experiences.

"It's just a really nice time for the children to feel special," said kindergarten teacher Lynne Davis.

Teachers also said "Grandparents Day" is a chance for students to learn about the cultural diversity of their classmates.

"It's a lesson in culture and the differences of cultures, but basically how we're all from one race--that's the human race," said fourth-grade teacher Vanessa Neal.

In Davis' kindergarten classroom, Richard Garcia, 68, a native of the Philippines, visited his grandson, Anthony Cespedes, 5.

"He's very close to me," Garcia said. "He asked me, 'Please, Grandpa, visit me.' I didn't want to disappoint him."

Garcia, who received the school's prize for being the grandparent from the farthest country, clutched a card made by his grandson. It read: "My grandparents are special because they live with me."

Richard Calhoun, 56, of Santa Ana also stopped by the kindergarten classroom of his grandson, Darius Calhoun, 6.

"I'm concerned about him and what he's doing in school," said the grandfather of 13. "Your grandchildren are like your children, and you love them like your children."

Meanwhile Hufft, who had attended a country school in Nebraska, gave her granddaughter's class some advice: "Learn everything you can, enjoy school, and help other people."

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