Alycia Kutzner (student) and Marianne Halko (senior). Photo by Kyle Hamilton

Students once again bridge generational gap

Sparwood students have created a calender, with each page dedicated to a Sparwood senior.

The generational gap has once again been bridged thanks to the heartfelt actions of Sparwood Secondary School (SSS) students.

Last year, Ms. Prest’s grade 11 English students created a book compiled of the autobiographies of senior citizens at Lilac Terrace. This year, 23 students returned to the senior’s supported living complex and wrote poems about a few of the seniors.

They then took photographs with the seniors, with the help of photographer Kyle Hamilton.

After five months, their final product emerged: a calendar, with each page dedicated to a senior citizen. Prest said it was great to be able to give them that gift.

“I think it just gives them a legacy,” said Prest.

“Something they can pass on as well.”

“It’s so simple,” she added. “It’s really just people talking, sharing stories, and tracking those memories, which is so valuable.”

Students have started selling these calendars for $15 each, and all proceeds will be donated back to Lilac Terrace for recreational activities.

Last year, the class sold approximately 300 books, and this year they aim to sell around 200 calendars. You can find them for sale at the Sparwood Chamber of Commerce, the Sparwood Public Library and Lilac Terrace.

Prest says she’s proud of her grade 11s, who jumped at the opportunity to be involved in this project.

“Every week they would come into class and ask, are we going to Lilac Terrace again?” said Prest.

“Every time I do this project … students take it really seriously. It’s bigger than them, they’re accountable to someone else. They’re accountable to it being published, so that level of writing, and they never ever handed in anything late.”

Prest said the poetry that the students produced was their best all year.

She believes that when you involve the community in a project and it becomes something real, you get great results.

One poem, written by Harlee Reghenas and Kassidy Vinet, takes us into the life of Anne. The poem is titled, A Mother’s Optimism, and is featured in the month of May.

The first paragraph reads:

“Approaching the end of May 1943, Anne was born. The seventh child of nine.

With six older and two younger than herself, she was constantly having fun.

From paper dolls to Monopoly, to hiding in the tall grass, there was never a care.

Suddenly parents sick at the age of nine, foster care is where she found herself next.

Anne was never one to complain, and she wasn’t about to start.

School was a breeze for Anne. As long as we aren’t talking physics.

The chores were inevitable, but the rewards were worth the time.

Hanging out with friends and watching the boys put outhouses on the school steps.

After a quiet graduation ceremony, Anne was now ready to take on the real world.

Of course, without a fear.”

When Prest was running for provincial government last year, she realized that seniors in her community were a bit separated from the rest of society, with little opportunity for inter-generational relationships to form. She says that the more she got to know the community, the more important she realized this was.

While teaching one day, she was surprised to find out that there was a senior’s home within walking distance from the high school. Since last year’s project was such a success, she couldn’t resist doing it again.

Prest says the response from the seniors has been heartwarming. All the seniors involved in last year’s project came to this year’s calendar launch.

“It’s amazing, the response,” she said. “They’re very grateful, they think that it’s very important. I was given a lovely bouquet of flowers, I had to put it in two vases it was so big.”

Prest is already looking forward to next year’s project, for which she has big plans. She hopes to expand the project, and open it up to other seniors in Sparwood. Even beyond her time in Sparwood, Prest hopes to see the project continue on.


Harlee Reghenas and Kassidy Vinet with Anne. Photo by Kyle Hamilton

Just Posted

Teck reports fatality at Elkview Operations

Teck is reporting that a vehicle collision occurred at Elkview Operations this… Continue reading

Forestry workers set to begin job action in Kootenays

Operations in Castlegar, Cranbrook, Galloway, Elko, Radium, Golden may see job action this week.

Fernie Memorial Arena unlikely to reopen December 1

Dynamiters unlikely to meet at Fernie Memorial Arena on December 1

Gallery: Festival of Lights fills downtown core with colour

(More photos continue below) Hundreds attended this year’s Festival of Lights celebration… Continue reading

Former Fernie councillor co-launches cannabis company

“Our mission, our goal - it’s about education. It’s about de-stigmatizing” - Dennis Schafer

Saving salmon: B.C. business man believes hatcheries can help bring back the fish

Tony Allard worked with a central coast First Nation to enhance salmon stocks

22 public toilets in Victoria: 136 people currently peeing

World Toilet Day floats some serious health issues

Calgary Stampeders back to Grey Cup with 22-14 win over Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Calgary was favoured to win the 2017 and 2016 Grey Cups, but lost to the Toronto Argonauts and Ottawa Redblacks respectively.

‘A giant step forward’: new $10 bill featuring Viola Desmond to enter circulation

A new $10 banknote featuring Viola Desmond’s portrait will go into circulation, just over 72 years after she was ousted from the whites-only section of a movie theatre in New Glasgow, N.S.

Searchers in California wildfire step up efforts; 77 dead

Trump arrived at the oceanside conclave Saturday afternoon after visiting Northern California to survey the wildfire damage in the town of Paradise.

Trump says ‘no reason’ for him to hear Khashoggi death tape

“It’s a suffering tape, it’s a terrible tape. I’ve been fully briefed on it, there’s no reason for me to hear it,” Trump said in the interview.

Canada Post calls for ‘cooling off’ period to allow for mediated talks

The proposal came as Canada Post workers continued their rotating strikes Monday after rejecting the Crown agency’s latest offer.

Metro Vancouver homicide detectives busy after separate weekend deaths

Homicide detectives in Metro Vancouver are investigating separate cases involving two deaths they say appear to be either targeted or suspicious.

High-end B.C. house prices dropping, but no relief at lower levels

But experts say home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families

Most Read