Monday, March 11, 2019
JOHNSTON, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- A volunteer grandparent has won the hearts of parents, students, and teachers at a local school. She's done so much that she's getting recognized by President Trump.
Maxine Dukes is a volunteer at Johnston Elementary School, where she's affectionately been named "Grandma".
"Oh, that is wonderful," Maxine reads aloud to students.
It isn't hard to tell she's like family around the school where she spends her time.
She started volunteering about three years ago while working with special ed students in the 4K transition classroom.
"I thought I wouldn't be able to work with little kids because I've always worked with middle school or high school, and I said, I'm gonna try the little kids they might need a grandmother figure," Maxine said.
Within just three years, she's clocked more than 4,000 hours with the kids.
"This is not a happy world, but I try and relay happiness to the children."
Her countless hours aren't just noticed by the school. She's also being recognized nationally by receiving the President's Lifetime Acheivement Award.
"I said, 'Well now, who's thinking of me?'," Maxine said.
Turns out President Trump was thinking of her. Maxine has a letter of congratulations and a lifetime achievement award to prove it.
"I was so excited, and I really appreciate it."
With or without an award, she's not going anywhere anytime soon.
"If nobody in the world loves me, these little children do. They'll say, 'Grandma!' and it'll just light up your day," Maxine said.
Maxine has a teaching background. She volunteers at Johnston Elementary every weekday from 7:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.