Daylight Savings means several things: Time to turn the clocks ahead.
Time to change smoke detector batteries.
In Westport, time for Staples seniors to change those batteries for senior citizens, as a public service.
And — at least as importantly — time to make human connections between high school seniors and demographic seniors.
This year’s event — part of Staples’ Senior Cares community service project — was a huge success. To see how seriously the high schoolers took it, understand that more than 2 dozen of them got up — on a Sunday — at the ungodly-for-teenagers hour of 9 a.m. (Really, it was 8 a.m. — Daylight Savings started that day. Duh.)
They met at Staples, got their assignments (plus t-shirts and breakfast — thanks, PTA!), and moved into action.
The action included changing clocks as well as smoke detectors, and attending to other small tasks. But this was one time when actions did not speak louder than words. The students spent quality time at each house — while working, and afterward — talking, listening and connecting.
Junior Bieling was one of the hosts. Over the course of nearly an hour he talked about his own time at Staples, many years ago. He spoke with pride of not having missed a high school football or basketball game since 1947 or so — until this year, when illness kept him away.
At another stop an artist talked about her career. When it was time to leave she gave Adam Yormark — the Senior Cares founder — a copy of one of her watercolors.
Adam created the project last spring. Spurred by principal John Dodig’s request that juniorsreach out to the community, he recalled a recent visit to his grandmother in Florida.
Adam had done the usual things — moving furniture, pulling weeds — but had an “aha!” moment when he reset and hung a clock high up on a wall. It was easy for him — but something his grandmother could not even attempt.
Adam got names of senior citizens through Town Hall. He gathered friends, made a trial run, then got rolling for real. The reaction of a woman with Parkinson’s — who was overcoming her illness with tenacity and grace — convinced him he was on to something important.
Staples English teacher Dan Geraghty got involved when Dodig described his goal for the Class of 2011: to develop a “legacy project” that would begin a new tradition for all senior classes.
“Through public service, students truly apply all of the core lessons they’ve learned about being a member of a community,” Geraghty says.
“Staples students care about the world beyond the walls of the school. I am amazed by the students here — they are kind, confident, and ready to have a positive impact on their world.”
Sunday was a great display of the willingness with which Staples students give back to their community.
But, Geraghty says, “I think the senior citizens gave the volunteers so much more.”
(Staples participants included Freja Andrews, Andreas Bub, Jay Cawley, Jenna Chusid, Francisco Delgado, Ben Freeman, Sabrina Friend, Madeline Gelfand, Ross Gordon, Augustine Gradoux-Matt, Emily Harris, Kelly Harris, Madison Kashetta, Ksenia Krichevsky, Farrel Levenson, Mario Lisanti, Eryn Lorberbaum, Perry Lorberbaum, Britt Mooney, Gwen Moyer, Andrew Myers, Caroline Nantz, Molly Rudinger, Jack Smith, Alex Soderstrom, Briyana Theodore and Adam Yormark.)