A prom with REAL seniors

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:44

    VERNON - Township senior citizens twisted, jitterbugged and foxtrotted the night away at the 2004 Vernon Township Senior Citizen Prom May 7 at Glen Meadow Middle School. Student volunteers handed out leis at the door as the seniors walked into the gym, decorated to the theme of a "Tropical Paradise." "We come every year," said Doris Bryant, a 46-year resident of Vernon. "It brings back old memories because I used to work in the school system." Heartstrings, a non-profit string ensemble, greeted the arriving seniors with a mix of classical tunes and Sinatra swing. The event is sponsored by the School and Community Association, and the students and parents work to collect donations and send out invitations. "It is the younger generation's small effort at saying ‘Thank you,'" said Mary Emilius, who coordinated the event, although she was quick to give all the credit to the "Super Moms" and other volunteers. Local businesses donated the food and door prizes. The money for the event was raised completely through donations instead of using tax money, said Emilius. As the evening progressed, DJs Butch and Bonnie Osbourne got the crowd on its feet and onto the dance floor. The dancers moved to that old time rock and roll, slow-danced to the strains of Frank Sinatra and even tried some country line dancing. "I think it's a wonderful event, but these people don't look old," said Howard Whidden, president of the Board of Education, who later joined the seniors for the "Electric Slide." Maria Pereira, president of the Vernon Seniors, has been coming to the dance for about nine years. "You wouldn't believe some of these people who can't walk, and they get up and do the jitterbug," said Pereira.