Students from Ipswich Grammar School spend time with senior citizens at Bundaleer Lodge Nursing Home and have made a book from what they have learned from talking with the residents. IGS student Mackinlay Sturges with resident Lillian Weber.
Students from Ipswich Grammar School spend time with senior citizens at Bundaleer Lodge Nursing Home and have made a book from what they have learned from talking with the residents. IGS student Mackinlay Sturges with resident Lillian Weber.

Young and old swap stories

AN innovative program involving year nine students and members of a local nursing home has proven a big success in its inaugural year.

The Memoirs Program was introduced by Ipswich Grammar School where they would bring in students every fortnight to talk to the residents about their lives. At the end of the year, the residents at Bundaleer Lodge Nursing Home received at a special keepsake booklet sharing what the students learned about the lives of those they spoke to.

Over the school year, every student in year 9 visited the North Ipswich facility twice, and working in groups collated the stories of the elderly residents from the Ipswich and Algester nursing homes. The finished books were given to all the residents this week at a special morning tea as the students wrapped up their school year and the project.

Students from Ipswich Grammar School spend time with senior citizens at Bundaleer Lodge Nursing Home and have made a book from what they have learned from talking with the residents. Paul Buchholtz chats with an IGS student.
Students from Ipswich Grammar School spend time with senior citizens at Bundaleer Lodge Nursing Home and have made a book from what they have learned from talking with the residents. Paul Buchholtz chats with an IGS student.

Lillian Weber is a resident of the home, and at 88 years old, had many a story to tell to the students.

“It’s been delightful to talk them, they have all been such polite young men,” Mrs Weber said. “I went to Silkstone State School during World War II, and with 700 students there we had to split the school in two. Half went in the morning, half in the afternoon as there just wasn’t the staff to cope. One time I was walking home from school when the air raid sirens went off, that’s one story I shared as I remember it very clearly.”

Mackinlay Sturges is a year nine student who was there to hand over the finished projects.

“I’ve really enjoyed hearing the stories from the residents,” he said. “I’ve loved hearing especially about life in the war. I live in Silkstone where Lilian’s school was, and she told me a story of hearing Robert Menzies on the radio telling Australia that we are now at war.

“That was a fascinating memory. Even though she was only 8 years old she never forgot it. I think when I go to ANZAC ceremonies now it will have more meaning for me, now I’ve heard the stories of people who lived through war.”

Students from Ipswich Grammar School spend time with senior citizens at Bundaleer Lodge Nursing Home and have made a book from what they have learned from talking with the residents. Harrison Summerville chats with Jock Henderson.
Students from Ipswich Grammar School spend time with senior citizens at Bundaleer Lodge Nursing Home and have made a book from what they have learned from talking with the residents. Harrison Summerville chats with Jock Henderson.

Head of Year Nine at Ipswich Grammar School, Michael Wellings is pleased with the program, and especially how it was received in its first year.

“The big thing for me, was that it’s a humbling experience for the students, because I truly believe that everyone has a story to tell, and they should be heard,” Mr Welling said.

“Every boy I’ve brought here took something away from it. They were meeting Olympic medallists, war veterans and some people with big families. I think they all came away with a respect for the residents, and for senior citizens.

“We hope we can do this again next year, I think it’s been fantastic.”