social studies teacher Michelle Harclerode has always strived to provide a more hands on experience for her students.
Earlier this month, Harclerode and her senior government class ventured to the Wantagh Senior Center to interview senior citizens in hopes of gaining a new perspective on the elderly as well as how much life has changed.
"We decided we wanted to do something we'll remember as a class and something that could make a difference," Harclerode said. "We heard people's stories and it was a fantastic experience. I think they gained an appreciation for the past and their elders."
Students met with the seniors in a group setting where they got the opportunity to ask questions about their lives then and now.
"There were about 25 seniors we interviewed who told us about their lives, their careers, getting remarried," Harclerode said. "After it was over they said that it was one of the best times they've had in years."
Wantagh High School student Lisa Douglas said she was surprised to learn about differences in the cost of simple things like seeing a movie or filling up your gas tank.
"We learned a lot about what differs from then and now," said Douglas. "A movie ticket was 10 cents and now it's $10."
Douglas also said she learned an important valuable lesson that her teacher, Harclerode, constantly instills in her students.
"They were all just like us at one point," Douglas explained. "They were laughing and having a lot of fun. It showed us to never judge a book by its cover."
Several students were shocked to hear that at that point in time, most women did not attend college or head to the workforce, but were most happy to get married and become a mom.
"When we asked, all the women had wanted the same thing," Douglas said. "Their main goal was to get married and have the same life. We all want to get married but that's not all we look forward to."
Harclerode said that she found it very interesting to see the students step back and realize that the seniors they were interviewing were just like them at one point in their lives.
"That's going to be my students in 60 years," said Harclerode, whose been teaching at Wantagh High School for nearly two decades. "It was a positive experience on every end and I definitely plan to do it again."