Hendricken students serve as biographers for senior citizens
AP English students at Bishop Hendricken are writing history. Not their own history, but that of seniors in assisted living care.
On Friday, for the first time, a group of 17 senior residents of West Bay Manor visited the AP students at Hendricken. The students were individually matched with the seniors, and were assigned to interview them about the experiences of their lives. Married couples were interviewed as individual units, but were paired with two students rather than one. The goal of the assignment was a full written report documenting the seniors’ lives.
Responsible for the establishment of this project was AP English teacher Beth Thompson. When asked about the motivation behind this project, she referenced the passing of her own mother, whose life history was never documented.
“It’s good to do this for the senior citizens so that their history isn’t lost,” said Thompson.
For the students, who have already taken their AP exam, this project served not as preparation for the final, but rather as a distinct, unorthodox experience while creating a tangible, meaningful product for the seniors.
“They haven’t had a lot of experience doing interviews, so the conversations were a bit awkward at first, but eventually they got the hang of it,” Thompson said.
Accompanying the senior citizens on their trip to Hendricken was West Bay Manor representative Brad Logan, who compared the Hendricken project to Brookdale’s “Our Life’s Stories” program. This is a monthly group meet-up program where seniors gather to talk about their lives and experiences, which are captured and written down.
Among the seniors were married couple Louis and Marie Fournier, who were interviewed by Matt Rich and Sean Conti. The Fourniers spoke about their vacations to Hawaii, Louis’ military service, and Marie’s extended family.
After the two-hour period within which the interviews and conversations took place, the students and seniors had a relaxed lunch together to become more acquainted in a less pressured environment. If the groups had not finished their discussions, there would be another opportunity to complete the collection of information when the students visited West Bay this week.
The written synopses are to be given to the seniors upon their completion.