High School Seniors, Local Senior Citizens and the Really Senior Prom
● By Kimberly Boney
Forever YoungFebruary 2015
By Kimberly Boney
A sweet, intoxicating melody wafts through the air and reverberates off the highly polished gymnasium floor. There’s an excitement in the air. The ladies are adorned in their most stunning gowns. Their three-quarter-length gloves are the picture of elegance. The gentlemen, dapper as ever, gather the courage to invite their favorite young lady to the dance floor. This is the night—prom night—the one they have waited their whole lives to enjoy.
There is something lovely about the remembrance of the happy, carefree days of youth—the days when dancing feet could stomp out the woes of the world. The Really Senior Prom is a chance for local senior citizens to take a joyful tour back in time. For some North State senior citizens, it is a chance to enjoy the prom experience they never had as high school students.
Since 2009, the Really Senior Prom has touched the lives of senior citizens and high school seniors alike. This project, the brainchild of Shasta High School teacher Lisa Ferguson, was born out of a desire to do something kind for North State senior citizens while raising funds for a local nonprofit organization. It's also an opportunity to bridge the gap between young and old, a chance for two far removed generations to find common ground on which to dance the night away.
“They mingle so well together,” says Jan Blood, a volunteer with Prevent Blindness of Northern California, who works with Ferguson and a passionate bunch of high school seniors to put on an unforgettable night. Th is year’s theme is “Eye Only Have Eyes for You,” since the event will be a fundraiser for Prevent Blindness of Northern California. Th is group is an affiliate of the nonprofit Prevent Blindness of America, which strives to provide eye health to everyone, from preschool age children to seniors. Th e organization provides vision screening, connects people with appropriate care, trains health care professionals and volunteers to perform vision screening, raises public awareness of the importance of vision health and advocates for public policy to protect vision.
The students are working wholeheartedly to recreate the era in which the senior citizens grew up. On Saturday, February 21, Shasta High School’s gym will be transformed. Shasta High School’s Jazz Band will set the night to music from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s and food will be catered by three teams from Shasta High’s culinary arts program. Th e school’s Reserve Officer Training Corps will provide a warm welcome to the Really Senior Prom-goers as they escort them into the event.
Local dance groups, including Belles and Beaus of Anderson, are invited to attend in addition to anyone who is high school aged and above. Tickets are $5. Seniors are not required to bring a date. It can be taken on good authority that plenty of high school seniors would delight at the chance to take a senior citizen for a whirl around the dance floor.
Jan Blood recalls her most treasured moment from a past Really Senior Prom: “The first year, there was a young man from the Associated Student Body in attendance. He was 18 years old. The highlight of the evening was watching him dance with a 96-year-old woman who was a member of Belles and Beaus. It always stands out in my mind.”
“What is most endearing about this event is seeing the youth enjoy and drink up the wealth of knowledge our senior population has to offer," Blood says. "I remember hearing one of the kids say, ‘It felt good to be able to give back to a group of people that has given us all so much’.”
The Really Senior Prom • Saturday, February 21 • 6 pm to 9 pm
Shasta High School Gymnasium • Tickets $5 each, can be purchased at the door
For more information, contact Jan Blood • (530) 917-8008
Prevent Blindness of Northern California • (530) 243-0414