Seeley Swan Pathfinder -

By Andi Bourne

Bringing knowledge and comfort to the classroom

Graying Pains


Andi Bourne, Pathfinder

Pearl Hawkins leads a group of preschoolers cutting, coloring and creating during station time in the Seeley Lake Elementary classroom Jan. 10, 2020. After 16 years, Hawkins is the longest-serving foster grandparent in Missoula County. She was named Missoula County Senior of the Year in 2007 and received the governor's ServeMontana Math and Science Initiative Award in 2012 for promoting math and science education at Seeley Lake Elementary.

SEELEY LAKE - "Don't bring in a rocker - I don't need those kinds of things," Pearl Hawkins told Seeley Lake Elementary preschool teacher Sheila Devins on her first day as a foster grandparent. "I'm going to get down in the beanbags with the kids."

Sixteen years later, "Grandma Pearl," nearly 78, is the longest-serving foster grandparent in Missoula County, having volunteered more than 17,400 hours in the preschool classroom. Hawkins laughed when she said she missed her calling as a preschool teacher, but said she cherishes the opportunity during this stage of her life.

Hawkins grew up in a...

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