This week was back-to-school week for the majority of Canadian students across the country. While plenty of students may not be looking forward to the term ahead, a group of seniors from a retirement residence in Alberta have sent their advice to Canada’s young people, sharing their best tips for anyone who is heading back to class.

The elderly residents of the Dr. James Hemstock Retirement Residence in Lloydminster were photographed holding up signs that showed their name, age, where and when they graduated, and their number one piece of advice for students.

The top tips from the senior residents stretched from, “Work hard, study hard” to “Be yourself,” and “Stay off drugs!” With more than ten seniors offering their words of wisdom to Canada’s students, the original post quickly went viral.

Photographer Jason Whiting of Videre Images was the mastermind behind the heart-warming post, explaining that the idea came from a similar post he’d seen on social media. Only days after he posted the images on Videre Image’s Facebook page, the pictures had been shared more than 54,000 times. 

Whiting told Global News that the site’s impressions showed the post had been reached by more than six million people. “I look through the comments every once in a while and just pick a few and go in to see where these people are from and they are from all over,” he said.

When he originally shared the images on Facebook, Whiting added the caption, “These "kids" at the Dr. James Hemstock Retirement Residence wanted to join in on the back to school excitement and share some advice to all those that head back to school this week.’

“I’m really moved by the comments. In an age where a lot of things can go viral, a lot of things are viral for the wrong reasons,” Whiting explained.

“This is a viral post that, in my mind, has meaning to it. If I was to have a viral post, I’m so happy that this was the post and these seniors’ advice is what is getting out there into the world,” he told Global News.

Speaking about the viral post, Whiting explained, “There is a wealth of knowledge in any one of our older generations and if we take a moment just to consider each one of these words of advice, we’ll be much smarter and wiser, just like them.”

There are stories everywhere. If you spot a newsworthy event in your city, send us a message, photo, or video @NarcityCanada on Twitter and Instagram.


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