By ALEXANDREA BAILEY
Trisha Litterer is the mother of Kaycee, 12, and Lee, 9. Their family resides in Uvalde, Texas, and first visited South Padre Island in 2017. On that first trip, the family decided to take a sand castle building lesson instructed by Dennis Barrett, with South Padre Island Sand Castle Lessons.
“My husband thought it was kind of a waste of time. ‘Anyone could build a sandcastle,’” said Trisha, foreshadowing her husband’s later change of heart.
Trisha contacted Barrett regarding the lesson, and he was able to fit the family into his schedule the following day.
“That’s when we built our first sandcastle and after that we became kind of addicted,” said Trisha.
Addicted as they were to the art of sand castle building, they decided to take another lesson when they returned to the Island for vacation the following year, 2018, and this year as well; Barrett being their instructor each time.
“He connected with my kids very well,” said Trisha after explaining that Barrett made the lessons fun while keeping the kids entertained and their minds focused on the task at hand during the lessons.
Barrett, who has lived on the Island for over 30 years, started instructing sand castle lessons in 1998 with Sons of the Beach Sand Castle Lessons, alongside Amazing Walter, and Sandy Feet. Now with South Padre Island Sand Castle Lessons, his classes last three to four hours. He guides his students through building huge structures, many being six feet tall, but “they don’t start that way,” according to Barrett.
“I tell them (his students) ‘We are going to start at first grade and work our way up, all the way to college level,” said Barrett.
Returning to the Island this year, after two years of building with Dennis, Trisha wanted to do something different with this lesson.
According to her, after experiencing the recent tragedy in Uvalde, a sand castle tribute to the strength of her family’s hometown seemed to be “the perfect little thing.”
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