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S.I. Students, Seniors Strike Up A Tune As Part Of Intergenerational Chorus

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(credit: CBS 2)

(credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBS 2) — There is a special chorus singing up a storm in Staten Island and its members range in age from 10 years old to nearly 100.

There were a lot of hugs at Staten Island Academy Wednesday between 5th graders and the seniors from Eger Harbor House. The special friends only met 5 months ago when the school choir performed at the assisted living facility.

The two groups felt such a connection, they asked the seniors to sing with them and the Intergenerational Chorus was born — they now perform together.

Their relationships go far beyond singing. The students paired up with the seniors, including 91-year-old Jean Toulantis and her buddies Benjamin and Nia.

“It’s very nice to have these 2 kids, they’re like my own,” Toulantis told CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu.

The kids are taking in everything, conducting interviews and learning all they can.

“I’ve learned about her past and what she wants to do in the future, like she says she wants to travel to the moon,” Benjamin Deinnocentiis said as Toulantis chuckled.

And along with the laughter, comes the lesson of how quickly life can race by.

“It’s great to have [Toulantis] here at this moment and spend every moment that we can with her,” Nia Meyers said.

Valeria Vitello, 94, paired up with 10-year-old Alex, who told Hsu all about his newly adopted grandmother in a poem.

“Valeria who is nice, smart and a great conversationalist. Who fears nothing, who graduated high school at the age of 16 years old and took many honor classes,” Alex recited.

The students will soon be out of school for the summer, which means a few months away from their seniors, but the bond will continue. The school also hopes to continue the program next year.

“Even though I may not see her, I’ll still have a special place in my heart for her and I’m sure she will have the same for me,” Alex said.

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