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Grandparents visit HMS for breakfast and fun

Harlan Middle School’s fifth grade students were able to bring their grandparents or “grandperson” with them to enjoy breakfast at the school on Wednesday as part of National Gear Up Week.

The students were able to enjoy breakfast with their family beginning at 8:30 a.m. and were given a list of questions to use as part of an interview to paint a mental image of how time has changed since their grandparents’ childhoods. Anything from gasoline prices to advice-giving were discussed.

The members of both the Harlan FRYSC and Gear Up worked to give the families an enjoyable morning spent together and a moment in time to reflect on the past, present and future.

By the end of the breakfast, around 60 grandparents were able to attend.

Also taking place on Wednesday, HMS’s sixth through eighth graders were able to take part in Heritage Day by learning fun facts about the county they live in presented by Harlan Tourism members Brandon Pennington and Laura Adkisson.

The two began their presentation with a history lesson about Harlan’s roots, mentioning how women became leaders for the county and led the way for their rights to vote.

Pennington also covered a few numbers on the economic impact tourism caused for Kentucky in 2018. Pennington said for the entire state there was a total of 94,583 jobs, $2.94 billion in labor income, $787.03 million in state and local taxes and a little over $11 billion for spending.

Pennington added for the county alone, Harlan had 318 jobs, $6.6 billion in labor income and $2.51 million in state and local taxes. He added it was important to know Harlan brought in close to $33 million for spending on its own.

Students also learned facts about the Cumberland River, different Appalachian foods and how 2019 marks Harlan’s 200th birthday.

Pennington and Adkisson invited the students to the Harlan County Bicentennial Festival taking place Oct. 10-12 at the Harlan Center, complete with a carnival, food, vendors, free concert, fireworks and more.

In addition to the event, Pennington and Adkisson stressed the importance of “showing up,” saying without the children’s help different events may not even happen without their attendance.

At the end of their presentation, Pennington and Adkisson answered a number of questions before leaving the young minds to wonder about how they can impact Harlan County in the future.