Biola hosts third annual Grandparents Day

Grandparents traveled from far and wide to experience a day in the life of their college student Friday at the specially hosted by Biola



Margerite and Robert Smith play bocce ball with granddaughter, senior April Smith, and Jerry and JoAnn Raemakers with their grandson, brother to sophmore Cody Raemakers. | Katie Juranek/THE CHIMES

Emily Arnold, Writer

Grandparents Day took place on Friday, April 8 at Biola University, providing students’ grandmothers and grandfathers the chance to spend a day in the life of their college student.

Record attendance at this year’s Grandparents Day

For the third annual Grandparents Day, Biola’s campus flooded with 540 grandparents, 100 more than last year. Some arrived as early at 7:30 a.m. to check in at the huge, white tent on Metzger Lawn. While eating from the breakfast buffet, they were greeted by President Barry Corey and then ushered off to a chapel held in Chase Gymnasium, where Professor Joanne Jung spoke on Ruth.

“The former president Dick Chase — whom the gymnasium is named after — married very close friends of ours back in Wheaton, Illinois,” said junior Natasha Lubansky’s grandfather, Nick Leonovich, who drove 113 miles from east of Palm Springs to attend the day’s festivities. “He passed away a year ago and his widow still lives in Wheaton. We were all members of the same church, and it was fun this morning at chapel to see his plaque up there.”

Leonovich and his wife Rose had a daughter who attended Biola for two years in the 1970’s.

“I’m impressed to see the changes on the campus since when our daughter was here in the 70’s,” Leonovich said. “I can’t believe how much it’s expanded.”

Grandparents enjoy welcoming campus atmosphere

Grandparents had the option of signing up for a golf cart campus tour to get a feel for the expanse of Biola. Each tour lasted about 45 minutes. Between activities, Common Grounds, Eagle’s Nest and the bookstore were bustling with students and their grandparents.

Those engaged in conversations at the tables near Eagle’s exuded joy and positive energy. Particularly excited were sophomore Amber Amaya’s grandparents, Gloria and Joe Amaya, who traveled 120 miles from Indio to come to Grandparents Day.

“The welcome they’ve given us, the encouragement, the friendship everyone has here — it’s such a blessing,” Gloria Amaya said. “You feel comfortable just saying ‘Hi’ to everybody. You smile and everyone says ‘Hi’ back to you. Also, it’s comforting to know we don’t have to worry about her when she’s on campus because we feel safe here. Biola’s a place we can confidently leave our granddaughter, the girl we love so dearly. We pray for God to look over this campus and we believe that God puts his hedge of protection over this school. It gives me peace that she’s here.”

Grandparents experience helpful seminars and the Biola Caf

At 11:00-11:50, grandparents had the option of attending a seminar taught by professor Matthew Weathers on “Computer Safety—How to Protect Your Identity” or heading over to the Production Center for a tour of that facility.

During lunchtimes, complimentary meals were provided for all the guests and the Caf swarmed with grandparents, who heaped all sorts of food onto their trays.

Sophomore Aly Luthi’s grandfather traveled all the way from Minnesota with his wife, Chrystol, to come to Grandparents Day for a second time.

“You wouldn’t see anything like this back where I come from, which is rural America,” Reuben Luthi said. “If you’re hungry here, you can get fed, and if you want to nibble on salad, you can.”

Bocce Ball games attract serious competitors

Other options for the day included Bocce Ball between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., where a guest and their relative student signed up for a 30-minute round of fun. Bocce Ball is an ancient game, but the modern version is similar to bowling. A little ball, a “pallina,” is rolled toward the end of the playing field, and then, players throw larger balls, the “boccia,” in an attempt to get as close to the pallina as possible without actually touching it.

“This was our first year ever having Bocce Ball and there were definitely some intense games,” said Colleen Heykoop, the director of Parent Relations. “It didn’t have a lot of people involved, but the people who were involved are in leagues from the retirement community, so things got intense. They took Bocce Ball pretty seriously.”

Secretary to the director of Major and Planned Giving, Rachel Garman said there was a couple who signed up for Bocce at the registration table who did not think a 30 minute session would be enough and ended up signing up for two time slots.

Grandparents given the opportunity to go back to class

During 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m. another round of seminars was offered, this time one on getting the most out of our computers taught by professor Weathers and another on The Church Reformation in Geneva, taught by professor Rob Price.

“Rob Price gave an informative and clear presentation of Luther and Calvin’s integral part in the Protestant Reformation,” senior Suzanne Klotzle said. “He included pictures of the location in Switzerland and shared numerous stories about the history of the Roman Catholic Church. My grandmas enjoyed Price’s colorful presentation, and they got a little taste of what a church history class at Biola is like.”

Vocal Jazz concert ends day on a pleasant note

The day’s events ended with a Vocal Jazz Ensemble concert on Metzger Lawn, which many grandparents enjoyed.

Sophomore Sarah Hurlburt’s grandmother, Beatrice Machado, came from San Diego to attend Grandparents Day for the second time and stayed all the way until the end of the jazz concert.

“I think Sarah should be a lifelong student here so we can keep coming to Biola every year for Grandparents Day,” Macahado said.

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