Lulu Stvan, a junior and honors student from Staples High School in Westport, CT, with a passion for journalism created a large-scale exhibition called “Remember When” that was dedicated and opened to the public to enjoy this past Saturday, February 8th at the Jefferson Valley Mall in Yorktown Heights, NY.
Lulu is an editor of Staples’ student newspaper and wanted to use her passion for journalism to make an impact. Over the past nine months, Lulu participated in several events held at the Mall during the summer and fall where she met local residents and asked them to share their memories about the Mall. Lulu collected and recorded quotes and photographs recalling memories that showcase the history of the Mall over the past 40 years and how it has been such an integral part of life in the area.
As people’s shopping habits have changed with more shopping occurring online, Lulu’s project makes people stop to think about the importance of a mall as a place to gather and interact with others. For many residents, the Mall has been the place for their first job, a place to meet friends after school, and even where many have had their first date.
Lulu’s exhibition highlights the importance of maintaining memories as a community and as individuals. Her project provides the opportunity to retell and share memories with the community and encourages others to think about what the Mall has meant to them over the years.
Lulu says, “As a journalist, I love hearing people’s stories and capturing the essence of special communities through writing and photography. The Mall and surrounding communities have so many great stories for me to share. I also hope this exhibit inspires visitors to support the work of the Alzheimer's Association.”
Coinciding with the opening of her exhibition, Lulu created a fundraising event to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association that she called “Memory Marathon.” With the help of student volunteers from a local non-profit, the fundraiser included memory-related games where children and adults were invited to participate in exchange for donations to the Alzheimer’s Association. Through this and other fundraising efforts, Lulu has raised nearly $250 to assist the Alzheimer’s Association’s fight to eliminate this debilitating disease.