Senior Spotlight is a project exploring connections between two generations: youth and older adults. The project is a collaboration between the Clinton County Regional Planning Commission (CCRPC), Wilmington High School, and Nebraska-based artist Jamie Horter. Created by Horter in 2015, the project has been a way to highlight these two generations through a creative lens. This is the first time Senior Spotlight has been created in Wilmington.
The CCRPC initiated the project as part of the adopted Age-Friendly Clinton County plan and as a pilot of what they hope to be a broader county-wide initiative in the future.
“We were inspired by the work that Jamie had done in other communities and saw it as a great opportunity to build connections between generations in our own community,” said CCRPC Executive Director Taylor Stuckert.
He added that, “the larger scale idea would be that this becomes an annual project involving all graduating seniors in the county to connect with other ‘seniors’ in their community prior to graduation. It’s a way for younger generations to learn and share about the individuals who have helped shape the community, to fortify their roots as they embark on the next chapter of their lives.”
Five Wilmington High School seniors, who participate in the Rotary Interact Club, have taken advantage of a tremendous opportunity to connect with senior citizens in their community.
Over the course of several weeks, Aeris McDaniel, Aubre Weller, Chandni Sharma, Katie Murphy, and Sophie Huffman interviewed five older adults from around Clinton County—Doris Florea, Gary Cooper, Kay Murphy, Paul Wahrhaftig, and Sue Kratzer. When the interview concluded, students took portrait photographs of their interviewees, which will be displayed at the Murphy Theatre beginning the week of May 15.
Students have been working closely with the original project artist, Jamie Horter, who has helped to install this artwork in communities around the country.
“Students build on what they know from high school, learn new creative skill sets like portrait photography, and create something meaningful and relevant for the public,” said Horter. “This work is about building relationships and community through art.”
Advisors of the Interact Club are Steven Reed and Dillon Olney, who worked closely with students to create community ties and to create honest and thought provoking narratives for this display.
Wilmington High School student Aeris McDaniel said about the experience, “This project has been such an eye-opening and great experience. I got to meet two people who will impact me for the rest of my life and I am so grateful for this opportunity.”