It started with the awkwardness of any dance, no one dancing, everyone looking around to see who would be the first to break the ice. The difference at this dance was the age separation, 70-90 year olds and teenagers.
Last Friday was the 5th annual Senior Prom, put on by members of the National Honors Society from Winston Churchill High School for the residents of Churchill Estates Retirement Community. The Prom is the most anticipated events at Churchill. It’s a great event that helps bridge the age gap between high school seniors and senior citizens. In a way it is a neighborly event as the students go to school across the street from Churchill. For some students this is their first visit even though they have walked or drove past it for four or more years.
The students handle the setup, the food, drinks and snacks. The jazz band and choir accompany them across the street. Playing tunes from the Big Band era and James Brown, they kept it lively which the residents enjoyed. It is also a special day for Churchill Estates activities staff for once they are able to watch and not have to worry about running around making sure everything is going smoothly.
In the crowd watching were the principles of Churchill High and McCornack Elementary school, which is also close to the retirement community. “I keep telling myself that I need to go, but I can’t make myself leave. I’m afraid I’ll miss something” said Churchill Principle B.J. Blake, who was attending her first prom, “This is just something special.”
Once the first group got out to dance, others got up to dance with them. Watching the faces of the residents and kids was all you needed to know about how much fun they were having. The prom might have more of an effect on those watching than the participants. Lined around the dining room staff, parents and resident’s family members stood almost transfixed, silently watching while a few tears fell.
Opportunities that bring these two age groups together are few and far between, and that is what makes the senior prom special. It throws off the stigma that both age groups think about the other, It brings them together in a festive atmosphere, and makes connections that brighten the lives of both generations that will long lasting feel good memories for all involved.
To see more pictures, visit our FaceBook page! www.facebook.com/churchillestatesrc
For more on the Senior Prom check out this article by the Register Guard. (Click here)