The Gazette (Derwent Valley) - - FRONT PAGE - JAMES KITTO

A DERWENT Val­ley pri­mary school’s pro­gram that pairs stu­dents with se­nior com­mu­nity res­i­dents is teach­ing the young and old valu­able life skills.

The St Brigid’s Catholic School’s Trip Down Mem­ory Lane ini­tia­tive gives Grade 6 stu­dents the chance to speak with re­tirees about what life was like in New Nor­folk in years past.

Joint con­ver­sa­tions be­tween the chil­dren and par­tic­i­pants have proved in­valu­able dur­ing the pro­gram, with many friend­ships formed.

“The kids get a lot out of it and our vis­i­tors re­ally love it and love in­ter­act­ing with the stu­dents,” school prin­ci­pal Joy Matar said.

“It’s been great to be able to con­tinue this pro­gram un­der the guid­ance of Sis­ter Carmel Hink­ley, Judy Wil­ton and Shirley Gra­ham.”

Grade 6 stu­dent J’Khobi Bone, 12, said along with learn­ing a ton of in­valu­able knowl­edge from se­nior cit­i­zens, the pro­gram also seemed to be teach­ing the older res­i­dents a thing or two.

“It kind of does feel like we are teach­ing them some­thing. These days we learn so much with iPads and com­put­ers, but they never had that grow­ing up so I think they en­joy learn­ing about new tech­nol­ogy,” he said.

“I think it’s a fan­tas­tic pro­gram that teaches us kids about the his­tory of New Nor­folk and the changes here over the years.”

Ken O’Brien, 95, who is in­volved in the school pro­gram shared a num­ber of his life’s jour­neys with stu­dents, in­clud­ing his ser­vice in World War II.

“I tell ev­ery­body to get a good ed­u­ca­tion and it will serve you for the rest of your life,” he said.

“I think you are al­ways learn­ing, I still like learn­ing and do all the in­ter­net bank­ing things.”

Sr Carmel said the pro­gram pro­vided a great link for the Derwent Val­ley com­mu­nity by bring­ing se­nior cit­i­zens to work closely with young stu­dents.

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