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Generational Help: Senior Citizens Give Boost to High School Seniors During COVID-19 Pandemic


For years, high school students have served their communities by "adopting" senior citizens. Now, we're seeing the reverse, thanks to the coronavirus as residents at a senior living campus are giving a boost to the graduating class of 2020.

We've seen how this pandemic put a damper on family celebrations from birthdays to marriages, to senior class milestones like proms and graduation ceremonies.

To help lift up members of the class of 2020, residents at the senior living community "Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay" reached out with advice and lessons learned from the past.

"You are there to learn. Go to every class. I never cut a class while I was in college," Neola Waller, a Westminster-Canterbury resident, told Cox High School senior Alexandria Pezzano.

The former teacher chatted with Pezzano as part of the program, "Seniors Celebrating Seniors."

By using a Birdsong tablet, the video communication tool developed by Westminster-Canterbury, the residents safely spoke with the graduating seniors.

"Well, having taught seniors for 30 years, I have lots of advice, and your time is too short for me to tell it all," Waller shared with CBN News. "But I had some items. For one, I said, 'Just remember when you go to college, you will be learning something, and your parents will expect you to graduate with a marketable skill.'"

"Also, 'You are in school to learn. I want you to have a social life, but remember you're there to learn, so don't let your social life overtake the academics you're there for,'" Waller said, revealing another piece of advice she gave Pezzano.

The graduating senior plans to attend Old Dominion University to major in neonatal nursing. She describes Waller, who's 91-years-young, as an "amazing woman".

"As a first generation college student, it was really hard to kind of like figure out what I was expecting to get into, so her adopting me really made me kind of like get inspiration on like what to expect and how to pursue my career," Pezzano told CBN News. "She gave me really great advice."

And Pezzano says what made her relationship with Waller even more special was the fact that Waller taught at Cox High School for 30 years.

"I still keep in touch with a lot of my students," the former educator told Pezzano.       

"And it was just amazing to speak to her, and we had a great relationship, and honestly, I feel like we're going to have a forever relationship," shared the graduating senior. 

"Like I'm going to come back from school and like visit her just to talk to her about advice on what I should do in school 'cause I know I'm going to be lost," she explained with a smile.

"She has a wonderful smile, which I think will be very healing and accepting of her patients," Waller told CBN News.

And to Pezzano, the affirmation didn't stop there.

"I've loved talking with you," Waller shared with her.

To which, Pezzano responded, "I know, you gave me such great advice."

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