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BRMP health students learn from seniors

For Bailey Stamper, a health sciences student at Blue River Career Programs, a sit-down meeting with seniors was a great opportunity.

“To learn about old traditions. Kids are different today. They (seniors) never had phones, never had Nintendo,” she said.

Stamper, who wants to be a chiropractor, was one of 42 health sciences students at Blue River Career Programs, 801 St. Joseph St., who took part in one of two sessions Monday with volunteer participants from Shelby Senior Services.

Susie Hagerty, a Health Sciences instructor at the career center, said the idea was to help students develop the communication skills they’ll need to assist patients in a medical setting.

“They had to meet people at the door, shake hands,” she said.

Students from all the high schools in Shelby County are in the health sciences program at Blue River Career Programs, seeking careers in the medical field, said Hagerty, a registered nurse.

Buffy Powers, coordinator of volunteers and ancillary services at Senior Services, 1504 S. Harrison St., said the sit-down sessions will help the students learn how to interact with those outside their normal social circles, and to listen.

“Communication is so important, especially in those moments of great need,” said Powers.

Marilyn Hertzer of Fairland was one of the seniors participating in the event. She talked about her family and life experiences.

One of the items she brought along was a book of ration stamps from World War 2 that was passed down to her. She explained to the students, Hertzer said, that the stamps were required to buy many goods, such as shoes, that were in short supply during the war.

The experience was a lot of fun, she added.

“I could have talked for a couple of hours,” Hertzer said.

A second group of seniors was due to meet with other students Monday afternoon. Powers, from Senior Services, said the meetings were helpful to the diverse age groups.

“They’re both being heard,” she said.

And they’ll be heard again. As part of their assignment, the students will write essays about what they learned from the seniors, Powers said, and those writings will become part of Senior Services’ 40th Anniversary celebration coming up on Aug. 24.

More information about the health science classes and other career classes at Blue River Career Programs is available online at

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