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Unique Project Connects Concurrent High School Seniors with Senior Citizens

08 December 2017
Senior:Senior project

Throughout the month of December, businesses located in downtown Pratt will be displaying a project developed by English instructor, Vincent Poturica’s concurrent Composition I class. The project, titled Senior:Senior, is a collection of oral histories concurrent Pratt High School and PCC students developed after interviewing Pratt area senior citizens.

Dennis Hodges from the Pratt Area Arts Coalition approached Poturica with the initial idea. Poturica was able to modify the project to cover the outcomes of the Composition I course and fit it into his normal curriculum.
The students interviewed senior citizens to produce stories of times in their lives they recollect. Some stories were tragic while others were lighthearted and funny. The students then had to analyze and evaluate the oral histories for the truth. Several questions were asked by the students with the main focus including those about their history and time in Pratt.

When approached with the project, many students had friends and family members in mind to speak to. Others chose their interviewee based off of local senior citizens brainstormed by Hodges and Pratt Area Art Coalition members. The interviewees had to be at least 75 years old and had to have spent a significant part of their lives in Pratt or the surrounding area.

“I thought it turned out really well,” said Poturica. “I am proud of what the students were able to come up with. Many of the students had to step out of their comfort zone and interview total strangers.”

Along with interviewing the senior citizens, students were required to take their photograph. Local photographer, Stan Reimer, was able to provide the students a quick photography course to help the amateur photographers hone in on their photography skills.

PCC art instructor, Valarie Dellrocco, printed the stories and photographs so they could be displayed in the windows of downtown area businesses.

“I would like to thank all of those who were able to contribute to this project,” said Poturica. “The students did a great job and I really appreciate everyone’s help with it.”

Hodges and Poturica both believe the project can be easily replicated. After gathering 75 potential interviewees, there are more stories of local senior citizens to be heard and would otherwise be lost.

The project is on display throughout the month of December at the following downtown businesses: Bolen Office Supply, Fabulous Finds, Memories, Mike’s Rent to Own, N’ Cahoots, Office Solutions, Parson’s Jewelry, Pratt Area Chamber of Commerce, Pratt Public Library, Sears, Skaggs Ace Hardware, Simply Southwest, Stitch by Stitch, Sue’s Ultimate Embroidery, and Vernon Filley Art Museum and Photo Gallery.