No one has yet fully realized the wealth of sympathy, kindness and generosity hidden in the soul of a child. The effort of every true education should be to unlock that treasure. – Emma Goldman
These kids were amazing! When I first introduced the Honoring Elders Project to the 4th and 5th graders at Neenah Alliance Charter, I brought along photography books. I wanted them to get a sense of the story that one single photo might be able to tell. I ended up showing them a number of Vivian Maier photos from a street photography book. There was a photo with a little boy and a coonskin cap. I asked, “What kind of feeling does this photo give you?” And one student answered, “It has a dystopian feel to it.” That’s how brilliant these students were! They’re always brilliant!
By now, you know the basis of the project. The kids get to work with cameras and interviewing skills, learning about storytelling, composition and natural light. Then they go to an assisted living home to photograph and interview elders.. learning history and bridging gaps in generations. It’s so beneficial to both groups. And it’s so beneficial to me! I am honored to be the facilitator of this project. And I am so proud of all the students involved. The teachers I work with give their heart to this project, as well. All the hearts involved!! I am so grateful. I have a couple more blogposts from this year’s project that will follow this in the coming weeks. I worked with five classrooms, this year. Neenah Alliance housed two of them. And tonight, I’m starting the project with a new group of students from an after-school program through the YMCA at Sullivan in Green Bay, Wisconsin! It’s a new step!
I want to share some of the amazing work that the students from Neenah created.. First, you’ll see the very last meeting between the students and the elders, where the students presented the books they made about their friend’s life. And the photos at the end are those of the students.
Here are some of the students’ photos: