Jane Grube, 92, was all smiles as she enjoyed dinner with her granddaughter, Erin Grube, 22, during the Londonderry High School senior holiday dinner Friday evening. (APRIL GUILMET PHOTO)
LHS honor society serves up holiday cheer to area seniors
LONDONDERRY - Friday night's holiday dinner at Londonderry High School brought together two vastly different generations.
Hosted by the school's chapter of the National Honors Society, the dinner for dozens of area senior citizens has become a popular tradition over the years. English teacher Mary Shank, who serves as the group's advisor, said plans for the yearly event began in early November, when the school's 70 or so club members began extending invitations to seniors in Londonderry, Litchfield and Derry. Around 60 people attended this year's dinner, though in previous years over 100 were served.
Shank said more people had made reservations but she guessed some had opted to stay home Friday evening on account of the cold, rainy weather. Sixteen students, all juniors and seniors, served up Christmas cheer during the dinner. Staff from the school cafeteria whipped up baked ham, mashed potatoes and rolls, while the students brought homemade desserts and appetizers. A holiday-themed bingo game and a visit from Santa Claus rounded out the night's festivities, with plenty of time for students to get to know their elder neighbors better.
Abbie Joy, 18, said she feels the event is an important one.
"They're an underappreciated group," she said of the local senior population, noting her grandmother was among this year's guests.
Morgan Parr, 18, said the school hosts a lot of community events throughout the year, but few are aimed at reaching out to the area's elders.
"Lot's of the things we do are centered around kids, but the seniors need to be appreciated too," she said.
Last spring, members of the Honors Society decided to offer a second event for the area's seniors, and many of those attending Friday's holiday dinner were familiar faces from last May's Spring Social.
Among the happy faces in the crowd were Londonderry residents Sylvia and Donald Bailey, who attended the event for the first time with Sylvia's sister, Shirley DesMarais and her husband, Arthur.
"We're first-time party-goers," Arthur DesMarais said with a grin.
"They really do a wonderful job," Sylvia Bailey added. "I wasn't expecting all this."