Students Host Poetry Celebration for Pennybyrn Residents

Pictured above: Pennybryn resident Elaine Walker and HPU student Dalton Sheppard taking a selfie.

HIGH POINT, N.C., May 12, 2015 – High Point University students and residents of retirement living community Pennybyrn at Maryfield gathered together for an end-of-the-year poetry celebration.

The photo features (from left to right) HPU student Kate Aitkens, HPU student Lexi Deignen, Pennybryn resident Delphine Ebert and Sarah Shelton, activities director at Pennybryn, at the poetry celebration lunch.

The photo features (from left to right) HPU student Kate Aitkens, HPU student Lexi Deignen, Pennybryn resident Delphine Ebert and Sarah Shelton, activities director at Pennybryn, at the poetry celebration lunch.

Throughout the semester, HPU students used stories to help improve the health of the residents. Students that are enrolled in the service learning class, “Narrative Medicine in Action,” met with residents of the retirement living community each weekend for workshops filled with laughter and poetry. The students and residents read and acted out poems together, used artful images to generate creativity and ended the workshops with the creation of a group poem or story.

“I really appreciate the HPU students coming here and spending time with us every week,” says Pennybyrn resident Liz Aversa. “They have been so kind and helpful when it comes to learning more about poetry.”

The photo features (from left to right) Allison Walker, instructor of English at HPU; HPU student Noah Coates; and HPU student Sarah Berkowtiz reciting a poem that the students and residents of Pennybyrn created.

At the celebration, students and Pennybyrn residents ate lunch and read the poems that they wrote together. HPU students presented a book they put together, titled “HPU Life Lines 2015,” with the poems that they created.

“I have a lot of grandchildren, so it is great to be able to interact with students that are their age,” says Pennybryn resident Elaine Walker. “It has been an interesting experience learning about the poetry; it makes me realize that I have been lacking in that. I have learned to appreciate it more than I normally would have because of this experience.”

HPU students and residents of Pennybryn at Maryfield at the end-of-the-year poetry celebration.

HPU students and residents of Pennybryn at Maryfield at the end-of-the-year poetry celebration.

“The biggest thing that I have gotten out of this is that you should respect every single person that you meet,” says HPU student Dalton Sheppard. “Everyone has their own story and no matter the age difference, you can still connect with one another. I have enjoyed seeing the residents express themselves in a way that they wouldn’t normally do, and I am happy we are able to give them that opportunity.”

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