By Sterling McGinn

A group of grandmothers meets on Mondays at the American Legion in Newberry, quilting and sharing thoughts with each other.

The quilting group is community minded—they replaced the bell covers and stars for Newberry’s famous Christmas decorations and have given numerous quilts to veterans and others.

Most of them have grandchildren who attend Tahquamenon Area Schools (TAS), and they’re concerned about the welfare of students.

Between sewing and laying out quilts, members of the group were talking about vaping, bullying and other issues that take place in the halls of schools these days.

“We decided that we wanted our grandkids to be able to go to school and not worry about all of that,” said Kathy Dzelak. “We are trying to organize a group of people—we were going to call it ‘Grammas who Care’, but we decided to change it, because we figured more than just grandmas care.”

Their group is called Community Members Who Care, and they would go in and monitor the halls during school hours.

“Hopefully the kids would respect us enough to behave in school and not be bullies,” Dzelak said. “Instead of all of the negative, we want positive.”

The group is looking for more parents and grandparents who could take turns monitoring the halls. Once a crew is assembled, they plan to have an organizational meeting and approach the board of education for permission to move forward.

“I am a concerned grandmother and I want to make it a safer place for our little ones to go,” said Marilyn Jewell. “It’s a place to learn and it should be safe.”

Though she did not want to comment until she knew more about the project, TAS Superintendent Stacy Price said that anyone who is in the building interacting with students needs at a minimum an ICHAT background check, and fingerprinting is requested for more interactive situations.

“First we need to find out when we would be needed the most,” Dzelak said. “We could take shifts or maybe someone could do an hour a day.”

“We are willing to try and make the school a better place for our kids,” declared Dzelak. “I am sure there are other parents, grandparents and friends willing to help.”

Anyone who is interested in helping can call Kathy Dzelak at 906-293-8072 or 906-203-5997.