Students in the Past Share Their Experiences
English 315, a special topics English course has been taught in Spring semester 2000, 2001, and fall of 2002 by Mary Jane Berger, OSB. The class partners students with elderly residents who have grown up and lived in our local area. Residents and tenants from Country Manor (Sartell, MN) and Arlington Place (St. Joseph, MN) shared and students recorded many key moments of the twentieth century, and their lives. When the students and seniors met, they searched together for topics of interest from the seniors’ rich backgrounds. From their many hours together, the students produced a book of collected writings. These writings were shared at a social and students presented their partner and family members with copies of the book.
At the end of the semester, students were asked to complete an evaluation of their service-learning experience. Here is a sample of those findings.
What did you learn as a result of your service-learning project that you don’t think you would have learned otherwise?
- I haven’t always appreciated them [seniors]. This class provided a unique opportunity to reestablish my paradigms of the elderly. My partner and I have enriched each other’s lives.
- Working one on one with the elderly provides great experience that simply can’t be learned through books.
Overall, describe the impact that this project had on you.
- I feel like I have made a difference in someone’s life. I have the opportunity to "keep history alive", and I even made a new friend out of the deal. I will always remember this experience.
- Positive, because it made me feel as if I was bringing joy into an elderly person’s life, while at the same time they were teaching me about life.
I am grateful for this experience. I was able to gain valuable insight into the life of an elderly person and gain their friendship. The service-learning project was essential to the class. ~Spring '03
This project helped me to expand my views about outside issues. I realized how much of a difference one person can make on another. I discovered the importance of volunteering and providing a relationship to someone in need. ~Fall '02
Take a look at a story from the first book: Wally and Eric