Bridging the generation gap

Students from Acadia Middle School joined with seniors from the Halfmoon Senior Center, Tuesday, April 29, to share both wisdom and talent.

During the third annual Intergenerational Respect Day, students from the school's orchestra played four pieces for the seniors.

President of the Halfmoon Senior Center Robert Emmette said, We try to teach kids to have respect for seniors.

The seniors were impressed with the performance.

"There is a lot of talent at Shen," said Bea Mooney, 79, speaking of the students.

Two student violinists were featured during the event.

Jessica Wang, 10, and Emily Zhang, 11, performed a trio with teacher Desiree Burke for the seniors before lunch.

"I didn't think it was that scary," said Wang, of playing in front of the more than 50 seniors. "It was fun."

Wang has played the violin for three years.

"I think it is fun to learn from them [the seniors] because they have been around a long time," Wang said.

Students and seniors shared tables at the event discussing everything from what they aspire to be to what they have done in their lives.

"These kids are fantastic," said Norma Pascarella, 73.

She said people seldom hear about the good things kids do.

"They are all very well mannered," she said.

After a lunch of pizza, director of the Halfmoon Senior Center Eileen Pettis shared the stories of seniors Charles Kent, Antonie Semanek and Fedora Michaels in a segment she calls "Living History."

Kent was 26 in 1946, when he won the Mr. America competition, said Eileen Pettis, director of the Halfmoon Senior Center, as she passed around photos of a young Kent during the event.

When Kent was 15, he was struck with pneumonia and was self-conscious about his lack of muscle, so he began lifting weights.

These were not the type of weights in gyms today though; they were homemade weights, which Kent made from film cases.

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