By Kate Raddatz

BLAINE, Minn. (WCCO) — Some fourth graders at a Twin Cities school are learning a lesson you won’t find in a book.

Calvin Christian School in Blaine pairs up the students with adults at a nearby senior living center for the entire school year. This year the students wrote memoirs about what they learned from their “senior buddy.”

“I loved her smile when I first met her,” Charlie Taylor, 10, said.

Taylor was partnered with Jeyn Hofacker. She admitted she was a little nervous when the two first met.

“I was fortunate to get Charlie who is delightful, just full of life and pizazz and a wonderful storyteller,” Hofacker said.

The students’ teacher, Mr. Kroez, started the program four years ago to teach students about the wisdom of older generations. This is the first year he had the students write memoirs about their buddies that the seniors get to keep.

They have their differences.

“He didn’t have any phones or electricity, but had nice stuff like a wood burner,” Daniella Yunchyk, 10, said.

Yunchykj was paired up with 88-year-old Howard Krueger. The two learned, even decades apart, they share things in common.

“I like magic tricks and Howard likes magic tricks, too,” Yunchyk said.

Krueger and his wife, Dorene Krueger, have been married for 62 years. They don’t see their adult children very often. Their buddies Daniella and Tucker are like honorary grandchildren.

“It’s always great and everybody’s spirits are raised by seeing the kids here,” Howard Krueger said.

On their last day together, the students share what they learned about their buddy by reading the memoirs.

While the lesson is over for many, the friendship is not. Taylor and Hofacker have already made plans for summer visits.

“She’s a friend,” Taylor said.


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