Summer school students bond with Alzheimer’s patients, learn lessons beyond classroom

For the third year in a row, students taking summer courses at Lincoln North Star High School channeled their creativity and compassion toward a good cause: raising awareness about Alzheimer’s and those who struggle with the disease.

Students in teacher Jen Deets’s art class created works intended to educate classmates and the public about Alzheimer’s. They showed their finished projects to a group of men and women with Alzheimer’s from CountryHouse Residence for Memory Care who visited North Star recently. 

“Art can tell a story and what a great way to tell this story,” said Deets, who teaches at Lincoln High School during the school year.

In addition to visiting Deets’s classroom, the CountryHouse residents joined summer school students and staff for the “Putt an end to Alzheimer’s” miniature golf event, also meant to raise awareness about the disease. Art students decorated many of the miniature-golf putting greens with images and messages related to Alzheimer’s. The now annual summer school event is organized by Pete Ferguson, LPS youth development coordinator. His mother lived with Alzheimer’s for 14 years before passing away this spring.

Many of the students formed meaningful bonds with CountryHouse residents during their short visit to North Star. Sidney Crichton, soon to be a 10th-grader at Lincoln Northeast High School, spent time with a woman who reminded her of her late great grandmother. 

“She kept a smile on my face the whole time she was here,” said Crichton, who wants to someday work in a field that involves caring for the elderly.

Deangelo Bolden, who will be a senior at Lincoln Southeast High School, had no previous exposure to Alzheimer’s - “to be honest, I had never thought about it.” He now plans on volunteering with Alzheimer’s patients because of his summer school experience. 

“It just got to me,” he said, holding a hand to his heart.

Published: July 8, 2019, Updated: July 12, 2019

"Art can tell a story and what a great way to tell this story."

Jen Deets, Lincoln High School art teacher