Crossroads News

Field Trip Fosters Connections Across Two Divisions and Many Generations

Tradition of visiting Silvercrest Senior Residence brings joy to Crossroads and the community.
In the late 1990s at Crossroads, then-second grade teacher Diana Arnold was looking for ways to incorporate service learning into her social studies curriculum. Having taught her students about historical figures who have transformed the world and local community leaders who were inspiring change, Diana wanted her students to discover how they could personally affect someone’s life. Thus, Crossroads second graders took their first trip to nearby Silvercrest Senior Residence, where they made new friends with the residents and made a difference.
Now, Diana’s granddaughter Ava Linnekens is in second grade and her grandson Barron Linnekens is in sixth grade. More than 20 years since that first field trip, Diana’s service-learning project has become a Crossroads rite of passage. Once a month, students from Crossroads visit the people living at Silvercrest Senior Residence to eat lunch, share stories and sing songs (occasionally still led by Diana).
“I like to interact with other people,” says Ava about why she enjoys going to Silvercrest. “I think it means a lot for the seniors because they don’t get to see kids that often and a lot of them don’t have grandkids.”
In preparation for the most recent visit to Silvercrest, second-grade teacher Dianne Enselman enlisted the help of Jason Ingram ’02 and his 10th-grade Life Skills class to make Valentine’s Day cards for the senior citizens. With an assortment of art supplies at the ready, the 10th graders showed the second graders how to cut paper hearts and craft meaningful messages to their elderly friends. Many of the sophomores even told their younger counterparts about their own second-grade field trips to Silvercrest.
“It’s really important to have that connection with the kids from the Upper School,” Dianne explains. “We’re one community.”
On Feb. 11, the second graders hand-delivered their cards to the Silvercrest residents. After lunch, Ava and her mom, Jenna Linnekens ’91, walked over to the Silvercrest courtyard to take a picture in front of a mural made by her grandmother’s students in 2000.
“I never imagined that I was about to have another Silvercrest thrill!” Diana remarks after seeing the photo of Ava and Jenna. “Talk about a trip down memory lane and a grandmother’s heart full of joy.”