These kids kick it old school.
Catherine Adams is one of those teachers; the kind all the eighth graders love. She is vivacious and engaging. When she laughs, her round cheeks squench upwards and she unfurls an infectious smile so big that the recipient usually can’t bear but to smile big too. In a moment, she can pull emotional buy-in from anyone. She is a force of nature.
When one football saturday, she decided to tailgate with her uncle, a resident at The Springs of Simpsonville she had an idea.
“It occurred to me when I visited him,” Adams said, “that our senior citizens need more entertainment and our kids need more places to perform for an audience.”
So she did what vivacious people always do; she made something awesome happen. Soon, her students were visiting The Springs to perform Shakespere and play corn hole. And for the folks who called that Simpsonville senior living community home, it was suddenly time to brush up on acting and long toss; when students needed someone to step into a role, they would call on their elders to fill the role. They even made cue cards. When a game of corn hole heated up, so did the trash talk. And not from the young guns.
Ashley Waters, the Director of Management at The Springs has taken note of the strange partnership between the old and the young. “It’s great to see sometimes eighty years separating two people in age, and nothing separating them in the moment together. The kids bring passion for their time here, and that means a lot.”
How much passion? Enough that the rising freshman crew — those freshly minted high schoolers now free from the trappings of middle school after school service projects — still come to visit their new old friends. For them, the year spent at the Springs is a story about leaving behind a special teacher, but keeping the lessons about life she’d spun excitedly onto her chalkboard.
That says a lot; the first thing most middle school students do when summer break begins is hastily purge all ties to responsibility in a rush to create the sleep-all-day nocturnalism of youth. Ghandi once said that “the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others,” and Adams knows what the Mahatma was talking about.
As do Shelby Bowers, and her friend Riley. In fact, you’d be amazed how many of them just…kept coming, arriving to hang out with the seniors who call The Springs at Simpsonville home. The Springs is a senior living community, but Shelby and Riley’s grandparents don’t even live there. And still they come. In fall, in winter, and in spring. They come to play cards and balloon volleyball. They come to play corn hole with their senior friends. And then summer hits, and a funny thing happens. The students still come.
“Here’s the thing,” Adams said with a laugh and her trademark smile, “These are seriously competitive games of corn hole. You can’t just walk away from that.”