Think prom is just for high school? Think again.
More than 100 senior citizens and 180 student volunteers gathered Saturday for the fourth annual Senior Prom in the Marvin Center Grand Ballroom.
The Neighbors Project, a part of the Office of Community Service, put together the evening of dinner and dancing for low-income seniors from across D.C. On-campus groups including Program Board, the Student Association and the Panhellenic Association sponsored the event.
Seniors came dressed in their Sunday best and jived along to performances by the Sirens a cappella group and King James and the Serfs of Swing, another GW group. Non-alcoholic drinks and dinner were served, while two seniors were named prom king and queen, and two volunteers prince and princess.
Senior citizens reminisced about singers and actors of their younger days, and the room was decorated with posters featuring movies such as “Citizen Kane” and “Some Like it Hot.”
Coordinator Cherice Tearte, a senior majoring in human services, said the Neighbors Project raised more than $9,000 to fund the evening since the group started planning the event in October.
“A lot are low-income seniors, who have to choose between their medications and a full meal, so this helps them have a good time for one night,” Tearte said.
Naomi O’Farrow, a senior citizen from Northeast, said she was excited for the chance to have a night out and mingle.
“As soon as I finish my dessert, I’m gonna boogey-down,” Farrow said, laughing. “I’m really thankful for things like this. It lets us know that we’re not shut out.”
Another senior citizen, Imogene Scales, said she was glad for the chance to come out with her aunt, Celeste Scott.
“We both have grandchildren, and love being around young people,” she said.
Tearte said that some seniors, as well as student volunteers, were attending the event for the fourth consecutive year.
“Some volunteers develop relationships and keep in touch with the seniors,” Tearte said. “I’ve really learned a lot from the seniors. They add so much to my life.”
One volunteer, senior Thuy Le, was encouraged to come to the prom because of her human sciences major.
“Before I came, I thought that some seniors could be kind of cold, but not here,” she said. “They are really excited to see me, and I feel like I’m getting more out of it than they are.”
This article appeared in the April 24, 2006 issue of the Hatchet.