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A group of Werribee secondary students has helped create a thought provoking photographic exhibition involving residents of Mercy Place Wyndham.

Each Monday pastoral care associate Susan Frykberg meets with residents to discuss a topic of interest, which includes everything from winter to loneliness and love. “I usually create a two page collection of quotes on each subject, which I take from a variety of sources ranging from the Bible to movie stars,” Susan explained. “The residents and I then spend an hour discussing the topic and responding to the quotes. Occasionally we even break into song.”

Susan was so impressed with the wisdom residents were sharing during these sessions, that she started collecting the quotes.

“I thought the residents’ advice was too good not to share. On the theme of tragedy, one resident said “My tragedy happened 40 years ago, yet even now, each day I have to keep accepting it”. On the topic of learning, a 96-year-old resident’s mantra was “Each day, you should learn a new thing”.”

Susan then came up with the idea for an art project titled Reflections – The Wisdom of the Elders and invited Vocational Education and Training (VET) media students to photograph the residents.

Year 11 students from MacKillop College Werribee were invited to capture images of the aged care residents during one of their weekly reflection sessions. This provided the impetus for a photographic exhibition consisting of large black and white photos combined with each resident’s quote.

The exhibition was unveiled on Monday 5 September in front of residents, staff and Mackillop College students.

“The exhibition is truly something special and it’s been a wonderful intergenerational experience for both our residents and local teenagers to work on together,” Susan said.

Messages to: Kasey McCulloch – Media Officer Mercy Health

Photo: Pictured from left to right: Jessica Bartlett, Rachel Clear, pastoral care associate Susan Frykberg, Natalie Pyke, Mackillop College teacher Sean O’Mahoney, Mercy Place Wyndham resident Dalisay Diaz and her daughter Merle Jaraba.