- Associated Press - Sunday, May 8, 2016

MANDAN, N.D. (AP) - A 92-year-old woman who has served as a foster grandparent for the past 15 years at a Mandan school is set to retire.

The Bismarck Tribune (https://bit.ly/1q2EHyE ) reports May 13 is Rhoberta Wegner’s last day at St. Joseph School. She’s known to the kids as “Gramma Rhoberta” or simply “Gramma,” and she has workedon spelling, math, reading and art with them. She also helps with grading and gives instruction one-on-one.

Wegner did an array of jobs in her career, including living on a cattle ranch, inspecting rooms at Old Faithful Inn at Yellowstone National Park, and owning a Kansas liquor store. She moved to Mandan 15 years ago, and she saw an ad for the foster grandparent program, which is now under the helm of a North Dakota volunteer organization.

Each morning Wegner goes to the school, spending six hours there. She also sews school production costumes, and she has taken up the Box Tops for Education program at the school. The school earns 10 cents for each box top.

“If I see one of these on something I’ve got and I don’t cut it out, I have a terrible time,” she said. “I’m throwing away a dime.”

Wegner’s retirement follows her son asking her to live in Arizona with his family. Also, the area will see the foster grandparent program come to an end soon.

The time spent at the school has given Wegner satisfaction that she may have instilled in students something positive, Wegner said.

“It’s a reason to get up in the morning,” she said.

Wegner said she’ll miss children who wave at her as they get to school and greet her. Principal Valerie Vogel said Wegner brings a feeling of closeness to the kids.

“We’ve told her she can always FaceTime the kids,” Vogel said.


Information from: Bismarck Tribune, https://www.bismarcktribune.com

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