Gardnerville playground aide turns 80

Every week, Jean Homer brings baked goods for her co-workers at Gardnerville Elementary School, but on Tuesday morning, the veteran playground aide found co-workers waiting for her in the teacher's lounge with a giant cake. They were there to celebrate Homer's 80th birthday.

"I am overwhelmed," she said, amid the applause and flashing cameras of teachers, support staff and the school's principal Cris Etchegoyhen. "I have been here for 24 years. I heard the best compliment the other day. A kid came up to me and said, 'Hey, I thought you were only turning 60.'"

Co-workers pitched in and bought Homer a gift to keep her young at heart: a limo ride to Lake Tahoe and tickets for a concert, plus money for the slots.

"The kids absolutely adore her," said sixth-grade teacher Meredith Swanson-Jessup.

Homer said her job helps her get out of the house and stay active.

She and her husband have 11 children and 17 grandchildren.

Before blowing out the candles, she made a wish.

"I wish I'm here another 20 years," she said. "It's all so wonderful."


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