Senior citizens hit the dance floor at the Paris-themed Tompkins County Intergenerational Prom at Ithaca College. (Photo: Simon Wheeler/Ithaca Journal)
When you think of prom, you’re probably not envisioning Grandma tap dancing to classics from the 30s and 40s, but that’s exactly what happened this week at the Third Annual Tompkins County Intergenerational Prom at Ithaca College. “This event here, fabulous. Anything with music, it’s my life. I love and adore music,” prom guest Nancy Jane Gwynne, 85, told the Ithaca Journal.
Project Generations, a student-run service organization at Ithaca College and Cornell University, hosted the semi-formal dance to give local seniors a night out on the town. The “A Night In Paris” themed dance boasted a jazz band, dinner, dancing, and raffles.
The Eiffel tower, lavender and white floral arrangements, and raffle tickets set the tone for the Paris-themed semi-formal dance. (Photo: Mary Claire Hartford)
Ithaca College student Mary Claire Hartford, the Co-President of Project Generations, conceived of the prom after working on a similar event in high school.
“In my hometown of Washingtonville, NY, I helped with an event for National Honor Society which we called the Senior Citizen Prom,” Hartford says. She figured college would be a great place to host a similar party, since there were added resources as well as connections to places like Longview, a senior living facility in Ithaca.
Vivian Mould, 96, and her grand-daughter Sara Luczynski, lead the conga line at the 21st annual senior citizens prom at Dury HS in North Adams, MA. (Photo: AP)
“It has been an honor, and a lot of fun, hosting the popular Intergenerational Prom,” Hartford says. “Spending time at prom with my Longview ladies this year was [a night] to remember, and there seemed to be no age gap separating us—just great friends enjoying a special event together.”
Katrina Schickel, 66, Aging Service Specialist at Tompkins County Office for the Aging, tells Yahoo Parenting that she couldn’t attend the prom this year for health reasons, but one of her favorite memories from last year’s prom was the red carpet and court. “King and queen are crowned based on their moves,” she says. “Last year’s prom king was 75ish. He was such a good dancer.”
Looking sharp in a tux, George Bock, 96, dances with Breanna Ham, acting director at Porter Place Retirement Community’s prom in Colorado. (Photo: Denver Post/Getty Images)
Ellen and Billy Kennedy shimmy, hand-in-hand at the Senior Prom at South Lenoir High School in North Carolina. (Photo: AP)
Schickel says that senior citizen proms, which have become a growing trend across the country, serve the universal need to connect with the people around you. “People get dolled up. Some wear their Sunday best or a nice dress. Instead of limos, we provide transportation in vans,” says Schickel. “It’s really less about age and more for the fun of it.”