‘Senior prom’ bridges generation gap between students, elderly

Young and old meet on the dance floor when a local assisted-living facility hosts their annual “senior prom.”

South Kitsap High School ASB representatives will join Stafford Suites’ residents for the “Sunset in the Topics” Senior Prom on May 16.

This is the 11th annual event — a brainchild of the high school’s ASB.

The initial idea of the “senior prom” came from a group of students, said Executive Director Denice Hoyt.

Hoyt said during the first several years of the event, the school’s jazz band would play at the prom, but as the band became busier, disc jockeys were brought in to provide music.

“They play the ‘big band-era’ music which the residents grew up and danced with,” said Hoyt. “It just will be a fun time.”

This year, residents will dress up in their Hawaiian tropical wear and dance to music from the Glenn Miller Band, Tommy Dorsey and Orchestra, and the Andrew Sisters.

Janice Maracic, assistant principle and ASB supervisior, said ASB officers and class leaders will assist with decorating and providing food and refreshments for the residents.

“The students’ goal is to make it as fun as possible,” Maracic said. “It’s a way to bridge the cap between kids and the elderly, and for open communications.”

“It’s a great partnership between us and the high schoolers,” Hoyt said. “It gives the residents — not all of them — a chance to come dance and watch the kids.”

The Fathoms o’Fun Royal Court also will be on hand at the dance.

Hoyt said there are 52 residents housed at Stafford Suites, located on Pottery Avenue.

Resident Bernice Caldon is looking forward to the event.

“The senior prom is fun, especially for those of us who can come,” Caldon said. “A lot of people sit and watch, but we enjoy watching the young people who come.”

Caldon, 83, with her senior yearbook in hand, recalled her senior dance as a member of the South Kitsap High’s Class of 1948. That year, seniors attended a ball, while juniors held a prom.

Caldon, who was editor of her yearbook staff, still remembers what she wore to the ball with her late husband — Ray “Ace” Comstock.

“I wore a soft pastel gathered skirt with a gray top,” she recalled. “I made my own dress.”

She said for many years, her senior class remained “very close” — meeting often during the year.

“We used to get together about once a month,” Caldon said. “Whenever we had a reunion, we’d have about two-thirds of our senior class show up.”

The Class of 1948 had about 150 seniors, she said.

Caldon and Comstock owned the Port Orchard Independent from 1965-1977.


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