They mastered the art of baking scones, demystified the meaning of doilies and discovered the etiquette of afternoon tea – it doesn’t sound like your average senior secondary class activity.
But for students at the International School of Aberdeen it was an education in how to bridge the generation gap and host a unique campus event for a charity helping to combat loneliness
Contact the Elderly aims to tackle social isolation among older people through afternoon tea parties and the youngsters, aged from 15-17 and working towards their International Baccalaureate (IB), invited a 25-strong party from the charity to join them at the school on Sunday (Feb 10).
The guests were greeted by a veritable United Nations with students from around the globe involved in entertaining the visitors who were treated to a tea party at the school’s PiItfodels House premises on the outskirts of Aberdeen.
Students from France, India, Scotland, Germany, Venezuela, Brazil, the United States and Nigeria, among others, all played a part in organising and hosting the event. Val Garrie a teacher and Creativity, Activity and Service co-ordinator at the school said the enterprise fitted well with a requirement of the IB that the students become involved in voluntary work and service.
“One of the students initially heard about the charity through a friend of the family and followed it up,” she explained. “When we found out more about it the students jumped at the chance to get involved and thought it seemed a really cool idea.
“In my view it’s a win-win situation – it’s given us an opportunity to get involved in hands-on service and for the students to mix with older people. Some are away from their grandparents and don’t have that contact in their life at the moment. And for the guests it’s been a chance to meet a slightly different group of people that they perhaps would not otherwise have the chance to meet.”
A group of about 18 11th grade students hosted the event in an area of the school’s foyer known as The Street. They were entertained by singer and saxophonist
Contact the Elderly Support Officer Caroline Peter said “It’s the first time we’ve been hosted by an international school and it was a wonderful event. The students had done so much to prepare and make us welcome and to see the interaction between the generations and nationalities was really inspiring.”