Student tutors at Saline High School’s Writing Center have been helping their fellow classmates with essays and assignments to polish their work throughout the school year. But recently, the students paired with a new generation of writers at the Saline Area Senior Center to assist them with the publication of their first literary magazine.
Megan Kenyon, program director at Saline Area Senior Center (SASC), was looking for ways to bring youth and senior adults together for shared experiences.
“We were building on our intergenerational programming at SASC and thought this would be another exciting opportunity. The students and seniors could learn from one another, sharing different perspectives and different ideas,” Kenyon said.
A Perfect Pairing
Kenyon worked with Judy Slater, who leads the senior writer’s group, to find ways to encourage writers to continue in their pursuits.
“Judy learned of the Saline High School (SHS) Writing Center’s second publication and thought it would be a great project for us to work on and eventually collaborate with. There are so many talented high school students who could help us with the publication. It seemed like a win-win for both generations,” Kenyon said.
Slater spoke with Jen Denzin, Saline High School Writing Center advisor.
“Jen offered the idea that the SHS Writing Center students could pair with the SASC writers to share and critique each other’s writing,” Slater said. “She provided student names to Megan Kenyon for pairing with SASC Writers. Each pair established its own sharing schedule, all online.”
In the fall of 2019, pre-pandemic, the senior writers took a field trip to the high school. There, they took a tour the center and met with the students. Later, students came to the senior center. The students gave lessons on how to use Google Drive, while also sharing their creative writing.
Jen Denzin, SHS Writing Center advisor, has witnessed a real connection between the senior writers and her students.
“We partnered with SASC writers a little over two years ago after members attended our Lit Mag Launch Party,” she said. “Throughout our partnership, students have attended SASC writing sessions, provided commentary on written pieces, and engaged in ongoing conversations about writing, life, and publishing. Some of our initial connections have even expanded into lasting friendships and mentorship. Most recently, the SASC members wrote notes of encouragement and praise for our senior consultants.”
The SHS Writing Center students were working on the theme “Space” for their own literary magazine. The senior writers choose to contribute to the theme with their own publication. Adam Rodriguez, faculty advisor at SHS who works with students at the Photography and Graphic Arts Center, and his students helped with the details of printing and publication.
“It was like a prospective job for the students,” Kenyon said. “They asked us what we were looking for in our design and treated us like customers.”
Kenyon feels the partnership has been a benefit for both the students and the seniors.
“When you have an eighty- or ninety-year-old collaborating with a sixteen- or seventeen-year-old, exciting things can happen.”
Slater thanked and praised the SHS Writing Center students.
“They inspired me with their crisp minds, their energy, their amazing maturity, their patience, and their respect,” Slater said. “To connect across the age divide has been a thrill, a reminder that our youth are our bright galaxies of hope for a more loving, tolerant world.”
Literary Magazines Available
SASC Writers Literary Magazine, “Space”, is available as a digital download here.
Printed copies can be purchased for $5. They will be available at Brewed Awakenings, McPherson’s Local, and the Saline Area Senior Center.
Saline High School’s Writing Center 2021 Literary Magazine “Distance” will be complete and ready for distribution at the end of May. For more information, visit the website.