Name: Bernie Walz.
“I knew it would be a great way to entice our younger grandchildren to come to Bellingham,“ he says. “These are two-day classes where grandparents and grandchildren attend together to learn about various aspects of arts, astronomy, chemistry, physics, marine life and other subjects.”
“We took a class in plastics and polymers,” he says. “Gabby was then 10 years old. She made her own clipboard and she used tools such as a band saw, a rivet gun and a belt sander.
“She loved it. After the class ended she told me in stern words, ‘Pop-Pop (the family’s term of endearment for Walz), I’m coming back again next year.’ It wasn’t a question, but rather a statement. This was something challenging for her.”
Now 13 and set to enter eighth grade in Bel Air, Maryland, she’s a Girl Scout, plays soccer and coaches Special Olympians in swimming.
“My experience (at Shannon Point) has inspired me to look more into marine biology,” she says. “I really liked WWU and now I’m thinking about attending WWU.”
“Garrick came out from Monroe, Michigan. He and I did the marine biology at Shannon Point,” Walz says. “Garrick especially enjoyed the cobblestone beach. He lives near Lake Erie, which is all sand, freshwater and no tide, everything different. At Shannon Point, all sorts of critters live there. On the second day I had a hard time getting Garrick out of there, he was learning so much.”
“Gabby and I did a chemistry and physics program,” Walz says. “We did all kinds of things, learning about vacuums, laser lights and how ‘magic sand’ can float on water due to the tension it creates.”
He and Jody retired to Bellingham in 1997. He also keeps sharp “by solving problems around the home.”
“I like to say of Bellingham, ‘It’s a great place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there,’” he says. “Well, I’ve been ‘visiting’ for 17 years! We wanted no humidity, and you don’t have to shovel rain!”