Summer read inspires new program in Escanaba

Published: Dec. 1, 2016 at 5:32 PM EST
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A book an Escanaba High School English teacher read this summer has inspired a new project in her classroom. Teacher Tammy Wiles read “The Life We Bury” By Allen Eskens and decided to start a program to bridge generations. “Senior vs. Senior” was the result.

“So what kinds of job did you have in the summer?" asked a student.

“Oh, I’ve had some marvelous jobs, fun jobs in the summertime, but there is one particular job that I found interesting..." responded senior citizen, Marilyn.

That is the sort of conversation is at the heart of the Senior vs. Senior program. The project brings Escanaba High School seniors together with senior citizens.

The students conduct an interview to learn more about the lives that these seasoned citizens have led.

“When I proposed this project to my students in the classroom there were two extreme reactions,” said senior English Teacher, Tammy Wiles.

One group of students was all in favor of the project, but the other group was very apprehensive. In the end, the project seems to have worked out well for the high school students and senior citizens.

“Our senior citizens were so excited they just enjoyed being with these high school students so much,” said Gayle DeShambo with Northwoods Place.

“I was surprised how open and questioning the students were,” said Northwoods Place resident, Vivian Ayers. “A lot of times I thought with older people they would kind of pull away and be shy, but they have been very open and very polite and nice.”

“And they were very fascinated by some of the careers and different lifestyles they were living at that time,” said Wiles

Some of the students that were reluctant at first, have seen benefits from the program.

“There is so much you can learn from all these people so you can't think like that,” said EHS Senior, Garth Wickham. “There is always something new to learn.”

The students will now compile what they have learned in a biography they will later present to those they interviewed.

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