Masters School Freshman Learn about Dobbs Ferry Seniors' Life 'Odysseys'

Students from The Masters School came to the Dobbs Ferry Senior Center to ask the adults about their own lifes' journeys.

Members of 's freshman class went to the last week to learn more about what life is like from the perspective of people who have already lived long, adventurous lives.

About 35 students came prepared with questions—and then paired up with the seniors, who were delighted to answer them in great detail.

Cesca La Pasta, a student, was paired with Vinny Betrucelli. "My father and his two brothers came over from Italy," Betrucelli said. "Although they were brothers, their names all ended up being spelled differently when they came here."

LaPasta said she thought of an "Odyssey" as a "journey or an adventure. I definitely hope to have my own life's odyssey," she said.

Homer's epic poem is about Odysseus' ten-year journey home from the Trojan War. Throughout that time, he faces many obstacles including: Gorgons, Sirens, and imprisonment on the Island of Calypso.

Since many of the seniors had fought in WWII or Vietnam, they could speak to having endured hardship and tragedy. One woman even

Most seniors, though, said life was less complicated when they were teenagers.

"We had good times," said Connie Luccello. "You didn't have to worry as much 60 years ago. We were free. There was no marijuana; kids didn't drink."

Francis Versache added: "I met the love of my life when I was 15. We grew up together and were married for 40 years before he died. That felt terrible because I was left alone when I was already older and needed somebody with me more than ever."

Although the seniors said that life was "easier" back when they were kids, Masters School Community Service Director Amy Atlee argues that the difficulties that each group faced were different.

"We forget that values—social morrays—change," she said. "Many of the older adults were married, had kids, worked one or even two jobs by the time they were these kids' ages."

Atlee said that "reciprocal community service learning" projects like this "give the kids a great jumping off point to learn what life is really about."

Atlee added: "It's nice for the seniors to share their life stories, their wisdom and experiences," she said. "It makes them feel honored and proud of the lives they lived."


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