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Honors students help seniors master tech

Learning a high degree of patience and developing valuable communication skills

Jennifer Spring, superintendent of Cohoes City School District near Albany, New York, received a phone call from a local senior center in fall 2016 inquiring if any of her high school students could help senior citizens learn technology.

Since January 2017, junior and senior honors student have spent about an hour each Tuesday afternoon helping seniors set up laptops, operate smartphones, archive digital photos and organize email inboxes.

The students have learned a high degree of patience to make sure the seniors repeat certain skills until mastering them, and moving on to new tasks. They have also developed valuable communication skills.

“A lot of the students in this program are better than their peers at speaking clearly,” says Amanda Powers, a district biology teacher and National Honor Society advisor. 

Spring says the senior citizens have gained new awareness beyond technology.  “Senior citizens may feel that their taxes are too high and vote down school budgets,” Spring says.

“They may not be aware of the value that the school district provides to the community. I thought that this was a win for all involved and for the greater community as well.”


Elaina Loveland is a Boston-area writer.

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