AWHS Seniors Learn Life Lessons from Independence Manor Residents

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BRAINTREE (May 20, 2013)–Archbishop Williams High School seniors recently participated in the annual Seniors to Seniors event with residents of Independence Manor, a senior citizens residence across from the school. Students from Mr. John Mullen’s “Life styles and Christian Vocations” Theology class gathered in small groups and shared breakfast with the residents and asked questions about life, ranging from relationships with God to meaningful work, the most significant challenges faced, and their advice for today’s young people.

Mr. Mullen organized Seniors to Seniors four years ago as an extension of the Peer Ministry’s popular bi-monthly “Wednesday Bingo” where students play Bingo with the senior residents.

“Part of my job is to encourage students to have a prayerful life and to emphasize the importance of prayer and of God in their lives.” said Mr. Mullen. “This breakfast provides an opportunity for our students to talk to seniors; to people who have lived their lives.”

The AWHS students questions included: “What was it like when you were my age?”, “How do you think young people are different today?”, “What were some big events that you witnessed in your lifetime?”, “How were you affected?”, “What did you do for work?”, “Did you find it meaningful?”, “Do, or did you have a relationship with God?”, “If you could give one piece of advice for people my age what would it be?”

“It’s always wonderful meeting young people,” said resident Joanne Wroe. “I’ve always loved teenagers, except when my kids were teenagers! The main thing I wanted to tell them was to get their priorities in order. Whatever you do in life, as long as you do it within your priorities, you’ll be ok.”

Coincidentally, one of the Independence Manor residents, Sandy McGee, formerly Madeline Marella, is an AWHS Alum from the Class of 1961. She brought her yearbook to show the students commenting: “Tuition at Archie’s was sixty dollars a semester and there were two semesters.” The students enjoyed looking through the pictures and asking about the sports teams and drama club.

“There was excitement, laughter, and joy,” said resident Reverend Kenneth Alcorn. “It was wonderful! The students wanted to know our stories and we wanted to know theirs.”

“I learned something from them and I hope they learned something from us,” said resident Barbara Kelly. “I wanted to tell them that in their journey in life, if they have a goal, go for it. Give it your all.”

“One of the residents told me to follow my dreams no matter what happened,” said senior Cameron Gilbert. “She said if you always have the drive to do that, then you’ll always be successful.”

“It ties into the class really well because it teaches us to be happy in what we’re doing in the moment and not to take anything for granted,” offered senior Vanisha Balan.

“I enjoyed hearing their stories and I think they really enjoyed hearing ours,” said senior Evan Gioiosa.

An important message that The Manor residents tried to emphasize is that students should enjoy their life. “When I look in the mirror I see Marylin Monroe, it’s those cameras that tell the lie!” said resident Barbara Kelly.

The “Seniors to Seniors” event is just one of many similar service projects and events AWHS students perform every year, many of them under the guidance and auspices of the Campus Ministry Program. “Given our students’ interest and Independence Manor “Seniors” excitement, it’s very likely that this event will become a staple in the AWHS Campus Ministry service initiatives,” said Mr. Mullen.