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Super Senior: Rolland Lafayette - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Super Senior: Rolland Lafayette

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WATERBURY, Vt. -

Rolland Lafayette doesn't get a paycheck for what he does, but he says he gets a huge reward helping out kids.

It's a routine, five days a week for the last 10 years Rolland has come to the Thatcher Brook Primary School in the village of Waterbury.

"Come over here and I'll give you a hug," said Rolland.

The 400 kids at the school treat him like he's family.

So much they have a name for him, "Grandpa."

"Grandpa Rolland is an amazing human being," said Nancy Daigle, the school librarian.

Daigle has worked with Rolland as long as he's been at the school. He checks in books and shelves them. He pretty much keeps things organized. Daigle says the students adore their adopted Grandpa.

"And I think they hear him, and listen to him and respect him as an authority, but a loving authority, somebody they care deeply about," said Daigle.

Not only does he volunteer in the library but he's also a reading and math mentor for the children. Today he pulls out Brianna from Mrs. Emler's second-grade class to listen to her read.

Rolland: OK, slow down a little bit.

Brianna: So they went along and they went along.

Rolland: Now, what's going to happen, huh?

Brianna: Good! That's two books so far!

Jeswin Antony thinks so highly of Rolland that he put it in writing. He created a thank you card for "Grandpa" with a photo of him and kids writing. It said "You are the best reader in Waterbury."

Reporter Joe Carroll: What do you think of Grandpa Rolland? 

Jeswin: I think he is very special, I think he is a very good reader for his age.

The 5-foot-4, 85-year-old is full of energy and one liners.

Joe Carroll: You slowing down at all?

Rolland: Only on Fridays!

Not only is Rolland a mentor at the school, but he was also a student when it was Waterbury High School.

The creaking of the hardwood floors is a reminder of the past, but something else stands out from 70 years ago. Rolland was in this classroom when the principal came looking for him and six other kids to climb Camel's Hump. A B-24 hit the side of the mountain. Rolland was the lead student because he was the only one who had climbed the peak before.

"We were hollering and we got a reply and that really surprised us," said Rolland.

The airman was outside the aircraft, they got him water and shelter and he was the only survivor out of a crew of 10.

Joe Carroll: You helped save a man's life? 

Rolland: Yes, that's correct.

In that one day, he learned something you can't find out in the classroom: life is precious. After high school he went into the Air Force, went to college and went on to become the Regional Administrator for Head Start. He married Irene and raised five kids. 

"This is Olivia, this is the one I work with math," said Rolland.

Now, he has a new batch of kids. 

Rolland has a favorite quote, "No man stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child."

With what he's done for the kids that might make him the biggest man in the town.

When asked what he thought the principal who pulled him out of the class would say about him mentoring at the school, Rolland said "welcome home."

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