Growing relationships

HOUGHTON – Some seniors and Houghton Middle School students came together to learn from each other and help beautify the downtown.

Twenty-two students from Christine Marttila’s sixth-grade class met with 11 seniors and volunteers from Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly Wednesday at the Ray Kestner Waterfront Park. They put flowers in 25 city planters that will be put in various places downtown.

Students traditionally do the planting each year, Marttila said. However, this is the first time they’ve done it with the seniors from Little Brothers. This is the fourth and final time the students met with seniors this year.

“For the elderly, it’s a chance for them to get out and have a nice day,” Marttila said. “And to see the kids, they like that.”

As for the students, Marttila said, they learn that “we’re going to do things with and for them, not expecting anything in return.”

“It’s doing something nice for someone, and just knowing what it feels like to help someone out,” she said.

The groups dug out weeds and grass in the planters, replacing them with bright varieties of petunias.

“I think this organization is amazing because it’s quite a welcome to come to see beautiful flowers the children have planted,” said senior Ashlyn Chadwick, who was planting with Zach Wagner and Riley Corrigan. “We’re so grateful to be able to be with the children, and them to be with us.”

Students Molly Bugni and Raili Therrian both appreciated being outdoors.

“I think it’s fun,” Bugni said. “It’s getting your hands dirty.”

“I like being outside, getting to skip school,” Therrian said.

Student Daniel McKellar said the day was “really good, really beautiful.”

“It’s really good to plant flowers,” he said.