Content starts here
AARP AARP States Kentucky Community

Young Writer Shares Great-Grandmother's Family Story

2024 KRTA Essay Photo Collage.png
Celebrating with Jameah and Mamaw

When the AARP Kentucky/Kentucky Retired Teachers Association Annual Grandparent Essay Contest began 24 years ago (2001), it aimed to engage 5th Graders and improve their writing skills. Over the decades, 5th Graders like Jameah Kirby, have shared loving personal family stories of how a grandparent overcame challenges and changed their life.

Jameah Kirby, a 5th Grader at Metcalfe Elementary School in Edmonton, earned top honors in the 2023-24 Grandparent of the Year essay contest sponsored by Kentucky Retired Teachers Association (KRTA) and AARP Kentucky.

This year, Jameah explains why her grandmother, Mrs. Carolyn Kirby, deserved to be the 2024 Kentucky Retired Teachers Association/AARP Kentucky Grand Parent of the Year. Her essay shares the family’s story of how her “Mamaw” cared for and her brother when they needed it most. Jameah’s essay describes how her Mamaw earned the title of the AARP Kentucky and KRTA “Grandparent of the Year”.

Metcalfe County Elementary teacher, Lindsey Thomas, encouraged and inspired Jameah to write about what makes her great-grandmother so special. Jameah’s essay was selected from thousands of 5th grade students’ entries across 185 participating schools in 62 Kentucky counties.

Jameah, Mrs. Kirby, and Mrs. Thomas all received recognition at the Annual “AARP Kentucky Grandparent of the Year” ceremony at KRTA’s Convention in Louisville. Jameah received a $100 award and special plaque, Mrs. Kirby received an engraved commemorative AARP award, and Mrs. Thomas received $150 for teaching supplies.

Jameah Kirby - Grade 5 Metcalfe County Elementary

The “AARP Grandparent of the Year” essay contest is organized by local Kentucky Retired Teacher Association units and AARP Kentucky volunteers statewide. They spend countless hours promoting and coordinating the contest within their local school districts to ensure participation and serve as local contest judges. AARP Kentucky and KRTA share a long and successful history of working together to serve each organizations’ social mission and to grow the annual essay contest.

Judging is based on grammar, form, neatness, creativity, expression, and characteristics of the grandparent. Local volunteers from KRTA’s 118 local units facilitate the contest. The 2024 winner was selected by a panel of volunteers with AARP Kentucky and KRTA.

The annual contest highlights the nurturing relationship shared between grandparents and their grandchildren. “The essay contest is an important way to recognize and honor how grandparents make a difference in the lives of grandchildren today,” said Gary Adkins AARP Kentucky volunteer state president.

Watch Jameah (below) fearlessly share her essay before an audience of 300 retired educators at the KRTA Convention in Louisville.

Learn more about Kentucky Retired Teachers Association, here. or AARP Kentucky on YouTube.

About AARP Kentucky
Contact information and more from your state office. Learn what we are doing to champion social change and help you live your best life.