Written by Cory Chimka
“What’s the difference between a teacher and a train?”
Anticipation hung in the air, grins glued to the faces of the 18 students, six staff members, and 19 senior residents of 5th Floor North at the Deanwood Rehabilitation and Wellness Center on Nannie Hellen Borroughs Avenue, Northeast.
All eyes were on fourth grader DeShawn, young comedian, as he worked the room like a Saturday Night Live veteran.
“A teacher tells you to spit out your gum. The train tells you to ‘choo-choo’”… and the room exploded into laughter.
DeShawn’s set of original stand-up comedy was just one of many highlights of the show May 31, planned and executed by the DC SCORES team at C.W. Harris Elementary School.
In the beginning stages of the service-learning process, the students began to focus on the elders in their community. They recognized the growing number of seniors living nearby and were disappointed by what they perceived as a lack of attention to, and respect and care for, the oldest residents of their Deanwood neighborhood.
They decided to partner with Deanwood Rehabilitation and Wellness Center to see what they could do to help.
After weeks of planning and practicing their show, the big day was upon them. The team hopped on a Metro bus together, rode down to DRWC and took the “stage.” The students were confident and well-rehearsed; they had all their parts memorized, and wheel chairs rolled forward to be closer to the action. Dance, comedy, poetry and song -- there was something for everyone.
One senior said it was her favorite day as a resident at the center.
At the conclusion of the show, the students announced they weren’t leaving just yet. They had packed up all their favorite board games and brought them along to play with their new friends. As they set up Monopoly, Checkers and Connect Four, the students could not have been more mature, respectful and poised in their interactions with the residents.
Perhaps the students’ proud principal, Tiffany Clemmons, said it best.
“It is amazing to see how far the children have come over the school year and the collaboration between (Coach) Ms. Logan and community-based organizations. This experience will last a lifetime.”