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ESM Intergenerational Event Connects Local Seniors & Students

Woodland Elementary student Jack Walters, right, plays “Match Game” host Gene Rayburn from the 60s as he asks Judy Walters a question. East Syracuse Minoa Central School District students hosted “Games of Life” for local senior citizens during their third annual intergenerational program.

Woodland Elementary student Jack Walters, right, plays “Match Game” host Gene Rayburn from the 60s as he asks Judy Walters a question. East Syracuse Minoa Central School District students hosted “Games of Life” for local senior citizens during their third annual intergenerational program. Submitted photo

“Let’s Make a Deal” was just one catch-phrase being used when East Syracuse Minoa Central School District students hosted more than 100 area senior citizens for a fun-filled evening of television game shows called “Games of Life.”

Elementary, middle and high school students on ESM’s Youth Development & Leadership (YDL) Team held their third annual intergenerational program Jan. 11. This year’s service project featured popular television game shows through the decades. Each year the project is student-created and student-led with support from adult facilitators.

“It’s a challenge to create an event for two different generations and have everyone enjoy it. This was definitely a major success,” said student Gianna Mangicaro, who along with fellow juniors Connor Bayly and Hajrija Selimovic, were the three student lead coordinators for the event.

“The goal is to create vital connections between both generations, to change perceptions and create a positive outlook toward each other. Overall I think it was amazing,” Connor Bayly explained.

Nearly 100 students helped to host the event either as members of the Youth Development & Leadership (YDL) Team or as “actors” in the game shows. The YDL team started planning the event last July.

The evening began with a dinner where each table had student “table talkers” to ask questions and stimulate conversations between the students and seniors. Following dinner, an evening of television game shows ensued where students replicated To Tell the Truth, The Match Game, Family Feud, Let’s Make a Deal, and The Singing Bee.

Seniors joined in as contestants on a few shows while the whole audience participated in The Singing Bee, a karaoke sing-a-long game show from the 90s.

The three student lead coordinators are also members of ESM’s DECA Chapter, which is an association of marketing students. They brought YDL members together with DECA students to help make the event even more successful.

The trio is using the event as their public relations DECA project that they will compete with at the upcoming DECA Conference. The YDL team sent invitations and flyers and also followed up the invitations with phone calls.

“This project teaches everyone a lot about leadership and organizational skills. I know it has helped prepare me for the future,” said Hajrija Selimovic.

“The project has helped me grow as a person, become a better leader and better at teamwork,” added Gianna Mangicaro.

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