Stevenson Elementary School was filled with adults last week during the annual "grand friends" day.

Stevenson Elementary School was filled with adults last week during the annual "grand friends" day.

"There's a tremendous amount of interest," principal Penny Coleman said. "Many of them have never been in the school before, and they talk about how clean it is."

She said the school encourages the students in third to fifth grades to invite grandparents, neighbors and friends to the school during the event.

Richard and I'Lee Unzel traveled all the way from Springfield to visit their granddaughter, Jena Prosser.

"We always come up every year for it," Richard said. "It's a good experience."

Richard said some children don't have anyone to invite.

Coleman said not all of the students have grandparents, which is why they extended the invitation to include neighbors and family friends.

Richard Unzel said one of the students in Prosser's class proudly introduced her "best friend in the whole world" who gets her up in the morning and gets her off to school. Richard and I'Lee said it was cute to hear some of the stories about the guests.

During their visit, the grand friends participated in different classroom activities. I'Lee Unzel said they worked to identify states on a map and completed different word games.

A book fair was being held during the Oct. 28 event. Coleman said that was optional for the grand friends to attend.

Coleman said the grand friends committee, made up of schoolteachers, tries to introduce a new activity each year. This year, the students could get photos taken with their grand friends. Coleman said it was "a big hit."

"It was nice to have pictures," I'Lee Unzel said.

Stevenson has been open in its current form for 12 years, and the students have been inviting grand friends to the school every year since then. Coleman said they have the school has three grades -- third, fourth and fifth -- and each grade invites grand friends on a different day so there is enough parking for all guests.

In preparation for the day, the students make invitations that they take home and mail to their grand friends.

"The kids and grand friends tell us how much they love it," Coleman said of the event.