Front row (from left): Soroptimists President Annette Philips, Alton Manuel, and a student. Back row (from left): Maryse Champare, Jacqueline Lubino-Hamlet, Annick Leblanc, Ammique Bryan, Frisette Galvani, and Louis Carter.
MARIGOT–Half a dozen elderly persons from Bethany Home joined students for an English class at Collège Mont des Accords on Wednesday, based on an idea by the Soroptimists Club of St. Martin and the Foyer Sociale Educatif (FSE) of the Collège to stimulate inter-generation exchanges for sharing knowledge and culture.
English teacher Jacqueline Lubino-Hamlet said the class chosen to mix with the elderly were students who had difficulties but were “exceptionally polite and eager to learn.”
“Today we have invited the elderly to come back to school where they are going to be under a little bit of pressure from the teacher, but the idea is for them to share their life experiences with the students’ experience,” explained Hamlet. “The lesson is about neighbourhoods and living together.
“There will be an opportunity for the seniors to explain how things were when they were at the students’ age and to answer their questions. It will give the students a better knowledge of who they are, where they are going and what has to be improved or restored in terms of relationships.”
The seniors and students worked together enthusiastically, the seniors showing no fear of suddenly finding themselves back in a classroom.
A student interacts with one of the elderly participants. (Roger Masip photo)
Collège Principal Suzette Karam thanked the Soroptimists for organising the exchange.
Director Maryse Champare said it was a wonderful opportunity for the students to benefit from the “wisdom, experience and richness” of the elderly and thanked them for accepting the invitation. “Our students need this exchange, this transmission of knowledge, as they are the ones building their future tomorrow and the future country,” added Champare.
Soroptimists President Annette Philips, whose father was one of the seniors taking part, thanked Karam and the students and elderly for participating in the exchange.
The class in progress (Roger Masip photo)