Sumter's Next Generation, presented by CCTC: Wilson Hall graduate Davis Lee establishes 'Seniors Adopting Seniors,' learns valuable life lesson


Learning life lessons from elders is like having a cheat code for life. Our grandparents and seasoned folks have already faced the boss battles we have yet to experience. By tapping into their wisdom, we save ourselves from common mistakes and big blunders - and Davis Lee found a clever way to do that.

The 2024 Wilson Hall graduate - and former Key Club and senior class president - founded the "Seniors Adopting Seniors" program as a means for students to get essential volunteer hours while also gaining valuable knowledge before taking that next big step; for him, that's attending Wofford College in Spartanburg to major in business.

The program would match Wilson Hall seniors with seniors of a local nursing home to spend time with, partaking in activities and events that would foster a genuine friendship between generations. Ideally, the students would be matched with senior residents who didn't have family locally. For Davis, this was vital.

"My grandfather is in a nursing home in Greenville, so I don't get to see him a ton," he shared. "That's kind of where the inspiration came from. I [thought], well, if I can't visit him, I can make a difference where I am."

Though things didn't go according to plan - meaning low numbers in student participation, so instead of individual activities, the Wilson Hall seniors who did participate did group activities with the seniors - the program "still did a great job at really making a difference," Davis said, from meet-and-greets to truck-or-treats for Halloween to events here and there to celebrate holidays and happy occasions.

While the senior residents were treated to a good time, Davis and his senior classmates were treated to way more.

"It was truly an experience that when you visited, you felt better when you left," he expressed. "The seniors at the nursing home provide a lot of stories. I love how they just told their life stories and probably their most vital life lessons that they learned. That was such an advantage to us because we got insights that other high school seniors weren't getting just by participating in this program."

To continue the passing of good insight, Davis has already spoken to the incoming senior class president about ways the program can improve in the coming year. His hope is that Wilson Hall Class of 2025 could benefit as much as he did.

"The greatest piece of advice I have gained from experience in this program - I know it's really common for the seniors at the nursing homes to repeat - is that life is short. Enjoy the moment; it really speaks for itself. You don't realize it until you're in their position of how quickly the years go by and how important it is to really live in the moment."

Preparing for his freshman year of college, Davis plans to still make a difference in the Spartanburg community. While he may not have a firm grasp on the community's history like he does Sumter, he's excited for the new opportunities awaiting him and the new programs he could implement.