A night to remember

Students and senior citizens dance the night away at the “senior prom”

On Friday, Nov. 14 students went into the community to bring joy to the senior citizens of the Villas of Shelby Senior Living Home. Students from Key Club came together at the Senior Prom and made it an unforgettable night.

As seniors walked into the dining room, a wave of smiles crossed students’ and residents’ faces. Tables were set and decorations were strung across the ceiling.

Students who volunteered were responsible for rolling silverware, refilling coffee cups, taking drink/food orders, cleaning up and dancing with guests. Many students said that giving up a Friday night was worthwhile, and would do it again in the future.

Not all students who attended who were good friends before the event. It was a good opportunity to work together and to get to know other people from school.

“It felt good to go because I don’t really talk to the people that went,” senior Arienne Patano said, “so I got to make new friends.”

While the opportunity to work with classmates was beneficial, students especially enjoyed being able to talk and spend time with the seniors. They enjoyed hearing stories from seniors’ younger years. For some of the seniors, it was their first prom while for others, it was a blast from the past.

“[My favorite part was] just talking to them because they had a lot to say,” Patano said. “Most of them were veterans, so I got to learn a little history.”

The senior prom may have included senior citizens, but the residents did not shy away from modern tunes. The night was filled with classic hits as well as today’s rap and hip hop music. Junior Gloria Kobler enjoyed dancing with a few of the seniors to the “Wobble” and “The Cupid Shuffle.”

Joy Grieco and Robert Machak, the teachers who run Key Club, were proud of the students who helped out at the event.

The Villas of Shelby Senior Living and Key Club are supportive of each other. The senior living home donated money to the club after raising $100 in a garage sale. The money that was donated was used to buy canned goods for the food drive that Key Club put on.

“We were very pleased to hear that Key Club is continuing to support Villas,” Machak said. “I think it’s a great opportunity for service.”

After hearing positive feedback from the residents at the Villas of Shelby, it was clear the relationship between the Villas and Key Club is mutually beneficial. When the night was over, residents were disappointed to see the students go.

“It is sad but true. Our culture and society often overlook senior citizens; you won’t find them on the cover of Glamour magazine,” director of the Villas of Shelby Senior Living Tonya Wilson said. “Yet Senior Citizens possess a beauty that radiates from the inside, captivating and unique for those that take the time to look.”

This service activity was more than a resume builder for many students who attended.

“Community service offers [students] the opportunity to slow down and look deeper at individuals,” Wilson said, “to get a glimpse of the wisdom, passion and beauty of others whomever they encounter throughout their life time.”

The event helped several students added hours for their senior project, but more than that, it allowed students the chance to make someone’s night.

“Dancing with some seniors and seeing them smile,” senior Faith Dues said, “made me feel really good.”

The senior prom’s success left many students with a new outlook on giving back to the community. While students were giving back to the community, most felt that they got just as much in return from the residents.

“When the residents first came in, they were grumpy,” senior Abbey Stewart said. “Then they started opening up and dancing. They still have fun even though they are there. They make the best of it.”

Residents at the Villas enjoyed the event with students involved.

“The residents of the Villas of Shelby adored the students, their dresses, dancing, youthful exuberance, laughter and friendship,” Wilson said. “Some of our residents never attended a Prom, so this was their first experience, embracing the prom as a rite of passage that they believed was forever missed but now accomplished.”