“She was super happy when she received the cards and said she didn’t know how she was going to send thank yous to all of them."
Sherry Flack, a Westwood Elementary School media center parapro, recently celebrated her aunt's 101st birthday in a unique way.
Students at Westwood Elementary helped Gladys Hanson, "Aunt Gladys," celebrate her 101st birthday by creating a variety of cards, wishing her a special happy birthday. Flack said her Aunt Gladys was excited to receive the cards, saying she had no idea how she was going to send a "thank you" note for each one.
"On March 26, 2020, Aunt Gladys turned 100 years old," Flack said. "The family had planned a big birthday party for her, but when COVID-19 hit, and everything shut down, the party was cancelled. She said that was okay. We could just celebrate when she turned 101."
This year, Flack's family made the difficult decision to cancel the party once again. Instead, Aunt Gladys, who lives in Baltimore, Md., would receive 101 cards.
"The family thought it would be great since we couldn't be with her to celebrate her big day that we would try to get everyone to send her a birthday card and hopefully she would receive 101 cards," Flack said.
After sending an email to the Westwood faculty, Flack said several teachers and staff sent in cards. Pam Eichberg and Stephanie Montijo, third grade teachers, had their students make cards.
"The cards were very cute, and some of the students even wrote poems to include in the cards," Flack said. "Susan Jaconetti's kindergarten class all signed their names on a card. All of the cards were given to me, and with the cards we received from the classes, staff members and family and friends, we sent them to Aunt Gladys."
Flack said the well-wishes meant a lot to Aunt Gladys, reminding her how loved she is despite not being able to celebrate with a large gathering of family and friends.
"She was super happy when she received the cards and said she didn't know how she was going to send thank yous to all of them," Flack said. "She had her picture taken with her cards from the students. She is such a sweet, classy lady."
According to Flack, we should always honor and celebrate our loved ones.
"We should honor those who have lived such a long life and to always let them know they are loved and remembered," Flack said.