The Gift that Keeps Giving: Life School Students Lead Art Class for Senior Living Residents

Written by Maureen Wiegert Maureen Wiegert
Created: 12 May 2020 12 May 2020

Waxahachie, TX - When 21 students from Life Middle School Waxahachie (LMSW) used their creative skills and talents to lead the residents of Waxahachie’s Brookdale Senior Living Center in an art class in late February, they knew their visit meant a great deal to the residents.

2 brookdale seniors studentswBut now, in the midst of a global health pandemic that gravely affects the senior population, that art class means even more.1 brookdale seniors studentsw

“Our residents loved it when the students came,” said Debbie Hannon, Resident Program Coordinator at Brookdale. “It was a very hands-on, intergenerational experience. We can’t wait until the fall when hopefully we can do it again.”

In the meantime, the residents are loving the artwork they created with the students that day and their paintings now hang in their rooms. The art class with the students also sparked a newfound love of painting for some of the residents who recently asked Debbie if they could do it again, even if the students couldn’t be there with them.

“Last week we did some spring painting with 12 of our residents,” said Hannon. “They said they enjoyed painting so much when the students came they wanted to do it again.”

4 brookdale seniors studentswDuring their visit in February, the students painted side-by-3 brookdale seniors studentswside with the residents. They found they had more than just a love of art in common. Residents shared stories and tales of years passed with the younger generation.

Besides the painting class in February, for the past two years students from Life Middle School Waxahachie have created personalized Christmas cards for every single resident based on information provided to them by Hannon. “Many of our residents still have their cards hanging in their rooms on their doors. These cards are the best gift they receive all year,” said Hannon.

The painting class was the first time the students actually visited the residents in person for whom they’ve been making cards. “The smiles and connections they made were infectious,” said Hannon. “These kids have been so good to our people.”

5 brookdale seniors studentswWhen asked what it means to the residents, resident 6 brookdale seniors studentswambassador Ms. Betty said, “It means they care. It’s so refreshing because sometimes we need a boost.”

Life Middle School Waxahachie art teacher Gordon Scott said the residents weren’t the only ones to receive a gift that day. “This not only gave our students an opportunity to express themselves artistically, but it also gave them a sense of community and an appreciation for an older generation,” he said. “It’s an opportunity we hope to have our students experience again next fall when we are all back on solid ground. It’s so important for our students to have chances like this to live out the Life School mission which includes character training and partnerships with the community.”

About Life School

Life School opened as an open enrollment, public charter school in 1998 and has 10 schools in Carrollton, Oak Cliff, West Dallas, Cedar Hill, Lancaster, Red Oak, and Waxahachie. Life School’s mission is to train leaders with life skills through strong academics, character training and partnerships with parents and the community. For more information, visit


Maureen Wiegert

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