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Food Not The Only Thing Served at PLC's Annual Senior Citizen Feast
"It's tremendous," said Lynne Eagle, 70, of Falcon. "I don't see my grandson at all so I look forward to this every year. These kids are fantastic!" Eagle and four dozen other senior citizens from the Falcon area had an early Thanksgiving dinner at Patriot Learning Center's seventh annual Senior Citizens Feast Friday, November 14.
"We are talking about siblings and families," said Owen Gruber, PLC eighth-grader, as he dined with Eagle. "It means a lot getting to meet new people," Gruber said, "my parents separated when I was three. I'm 14 now and I've lived in four different states in the last 8 years."
"He's hard working. He's older than he looks," Eagle said about the young man. "It's obvious people care about each other, even if they aren't family," said the long time Falcon resident. In her third year at the feast, Eagle said she enjoys seeing the same students year after year. "Watching them grow and work toward their goals gives me hope for the next generation," she said. "Some of these kids have had a hard life, but they are overcoming it and blossoming."
The Patriot Learning Center community service project put on by its middle school students is about making personal connections according to PLC principal Tom Wilke. "It narrows the gaps when building relationships," he said, "it helps us focus on things other than just academics." Wilke says his students show their maturity during the event. "They are afraid at first," he said, "but then some of the senior citizens tell them about attending the original Falcon School that is still on site and off they go."
"It takes some of the myths away," Wilke says about his students at the District 49 alternative school. "They aren't bad kids. It shows how important they are to D49. It shows our commitment for these young adults and future leaders."
"They are resilient young people," said Jerry Simpson, who attended the event with his wife Janice. The couple, who met on a school bus at 15, have attended the annual event for each of its seven years. "They have paths and they know where they lead," he said, "it's exciting." The Simpsons exercise at the PLC gym twice a week with Falcon Senior Services. "It's amazing to see the growth from year to year," Simpson said, "talking to the kids, they have aspirations."
"Some of them have been through some rough things," Simpson said, "having been through my own, these kids remind me that you can always bounce back."