Do you know the name of the man who introduced rockmelons to Australia?
Would it surprise you to learn that he lives in Port Macquarie?
That was just one of the amazing facts to come from a pilot program between eight year 10 St Joseph's Regional College English students and four Catholic Care of the Aged residents.
The students presented the results of their memoirs project - both in hard copy and on a digital platform - to the residents on Wednesday.
The project was widely applauded for its innovation and initiative.
The completed memoirs were presented to the residents and will be available to families.
Students Cara Dowse-Collyer and Courtney Fyffe spoke with Honor Morcom.
Isaac Plunkett and Dane Trotter conversed with John Warrener, while Bec Moss and Tara Young spoke with Joe Sumeghy - who introduced rockmelons into Australia through his work with the CSIRO.
Ashleigh Grace and Tyla Lewis-Bain chatted with Marie Grealish.
The students met with the residents a number of times where they gathered information, stories, anecdotes and photos.
Lifestyle and wellbeing manager at CCA Alison Sherrat described the project as "amazing".
"This project expands on the information we have on each resident," she said.
"The students have given so much to these residents and also to us as their carers.
"We would love to continue this program into the future."
College principal Jim Dempsey said the pilot was one of the most touching programs he had experienced in over 30 years in education.
"Our young students have brought a gift to you as residents," he said.
This project has created a deep connection between students and the residents and a connection with the St Agnes Parish.Jim Dempsey
"This project has created a deep connection between students and the residents and a connection with the St Agnes Parish.
"(English teacher) Frank Johnston saw that this program was needed but also responded and acted on that. It shows innovation and initiative."
Mr Johnston said the project drew on elements of IT, literacy, history and community service.
"After speaking with the residents on several occasions, the students were also able to do some research on the residents to fill in the historical gaps," he said.
"The sound recordings of the residents’ stories was also important from an historical perspective."
Cara said she enjoyed the project.
"Talking with Honor gave me an insight into how she lived her life," she said.
"I would really like to see this project rolled out so other students can learn different things."
Manager St Agnes (site) Heather Nicholson praised the project as a way for older residents and students to bond.
"This project gives the residents the chance to tell their story. The integration of the students and the residents actually gives them the chance to enjoy each other's company.
"It teaches the students that they can communicate effectively with older residents; that they are not fragile but just really special people.
"The project also gives the residents the knowledge that someone is listening to their story.".
Parish priest Father Paul Gooley said celebrating the lives of the residents and having the students involved has brought the two communities together.
"As a parish, we encourage this interaction between older residents and our younger members," he said.
"This is a real success story. You have residents and students here together celebrating the project and each other."
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