OSWEGO – An inter-generational project which brought Oswego Middle School students together with St. Francis Commons Assisted Living Residence residents for collaborative “life stories” provided each group with some new memories and new friendships along the way.
After a series of interviews with a resident, students took the information they gathered back to the classroom and began to prepare stories about what they had learned.
Questions focused on details that included family histories and remembrances of historical events during their lifetimes.
“Because of this project I got to meet a new friend and a great person,” said student Allison Vincent, referring to her interviews with resident Emile Tulik. “This has given me a different viewpoint on some historical events that happened and how they impacted our own community.”
When students returned to St. Francis Commons they shared what they had learned in formal presentations to all those gathered.
They also produced a written copy of their project, presented it the resident interviewee, and shared what they had learned about the interview and writing process over lunch together.
Zach Kinney and Conner Syrell were intrigued to learn about The Great Depression from resident Al Nessel.
Nessel related how he had to work hard on his family’s farm, a reality shared by many families, just to make ends meet.
During the presentations, students Mallory Upcraft and Sydney DeLapp shared Renee Berggen’s account of the painful news when she first heard of President Kennedy’s assassination.
“We here at St. Francis Commons would like to thank all the OMS students who took part in this project,” said Julie Chetney, director. “The energy and excitement during the interviews and the reactions by our residents as they heard details of their lives recounted was a wonderful educational experience for all involved.”
The Oswego City-County Youth Bureau provided a mini-grant to make this inter-generational program possible.