Wenonah High School seniors teach senior citizens how to use smartphones, social media

Updated: Jan. 31, 2017 at 9:22 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - This year, Wenonah High School in Birmingham is home to two sets of seniors.

One set is scheduled to graduate later this year. The second set, including one Wenonah alum, is coming back to class to learn computer and social media skills from the first set.

The classes in the computer lab attached to the library a partnership between the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, AT&T and The Alabama Department of Senior Citizens.

Although it is one of 10 high schools in the state teaching cyber seniors, Gerontology teacher Denise Rucker says "we're the only school I know of where students come to the school."

It can be a struggle to convince senior citizens to trade in the tried and true for something with a learning curve. Louisc L  Powell says she's heard it from her family.

"'Ma, dear, you need a phone,'" she says they've told her.

"I got the same phone I had for 15 years, it's the flip top!" she added.

While the class allows senior citizens to learn the basics of social media, many are also pleased to learn how to add a "circle of six" friends or family members on their phone, giving them quick access to someone they trust in a crisis.

"We have a lot of people now who are over 100 years old and we have to be prepared to take care of our family members," Rucker said.

Meanwhile, the students benefit from sharing their knowledge of the rapidly changing field of technology while enjoying the exchanges with people in their 70s, 80s and older.

"I have an awesome student," says Wenonah Senior Allesse Smith of Georgia Flanagan.

Smith says she's proud of Flanagan's ability to tweet and email. She says she has also learned from Flanagan "to be a little more wise and more patient."

You could wind up hearing from the Cyber Seniors yourself. They spent part of the day putting together a video to show flex their social media muscles in competition with the other nine schools around the state. Winning involves getting the most engagement about their video. So don't be surprised if they wind up in your Twitter feed this week asking you to check out their video and retweet it.

Copyright 2017 WBRC. All rights reserved.