Salem 'senior' prom an event for the ages
Joseph DiPrima shares a lively dance with Mary, his wife of 58 years, during the Ingram Senior Center's “Senior Prom” on Friday. (APRIL GUILMET PHOTO)
SALEM — The corsages were pinned, the lights were dimmed and the ballots were cast for the night’s king and queen.
And as disk jockey Jason McCollin turned up the volume of “Red Roses for a Blue Lady” and couples flooded the floor, the years began to melt away –and the Ingram Senior Center’s 2014 “Senior Prom” was officially underway.
Hosted by members of Salem High School’s Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) club, it was surely a night to remember.
School staffer Janine Parent, who oversees the 100-member club with Diana Jeans, said the prom, where local seniors dress up in formal attire and hobnob with high school students, has become a popular annual tradition in recent years.
“The kids look forward to it as much as the seniors do,” Parent said.
Jeans said the prom is now in its fourth year and the event gets a little bigger each time, with plenty of area businesses stepping up to lend a hand.
About 30 high school juniors and seniors made this year’s event happen, arriving early to deck out the senior center’s dining room with cascades of stars and balloons, whip up a big bowl of punch and lay out the colorful boutonnières and corsages so they were ready to pin on the 50 or so well-heeled guests as they entered the hall.
McCollin, who teaches line dance classes at the center, stepped away from his DJ booth periodically to join his friends, both young and old, on the dance floor.
Door prizes of gift cards from local shops and restaurants, and an ice cream sundae bar rounded out the night’s festivities.
For some of the students, this was their second time attending the “prom.”
Senior Connor Sheehy said he enjoys hearing the stories some of the older guests often share: memories of their original prom days long gone by.
“It’s so nice meeting them and hearing all the different perspectives,” he said.
Fellow senior Brittney Fleming said last year’s event was an eye opening one, as she hadn’t realized so many of the guests would be so eager to get on the dance floor. “It’s so fun to see how much they love dancing,” Fleming said. “They really feel like they’re at a real prom.”
Student Haley Kalil agreed. “I love it when you see some of the couples out there,” she said.
Local couple Alice and Leo Moisan, who have lived in Salem for over 50 years, said they haven’t missed a “senior prom” yet.
“It’s the friendliness of the students that makes it so special,” Alice Moisan said. “They’re so open, so approachable.”
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