A prom for the ages

From left, Emma Baldino and Alma West dance during the “Senior Prom” at Windemere. —Alexandra Barlett

By Alexandra Barlett

A time machine landed at Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and took the patients and some high school students back to the 1940s and 1950s for the annual “Senior Prom” on Saturday, May 13. The prom was hosted by students who are members of National Honor Society (NHS) who came dressed up in their prom gowns and suits and danced with the senior citizens to piano renditions of songs from that era.

Mary MacDonald, the high school’s NHS advisor said, “The elegance of the dresses brings the prom-goers back to the days of their prom. The patients look forward to this event every year and it is great to see the students serving their community.”

The Senior Prom began about six years ago when a couple NHS student members reached out to Windemere with the idea. “It’s become a lovely tradition,” Mary MacDonald said.

This was the second year that Alma West, a Windemere patient, has participated in the prom. She said, “This prom is just so lovely and everyone looks beautiful. I get a lot of pleasure out of being here, seeing everyone so dressed up and interacting with the community’s youth.”

Senior Adalaide Keene enjoyed talking with the patients. She said, “They were great listeners and genuinely cared about hearing about my life. I also found it very interesting to hear what they had to say. I feel like each generation has something to offer.”

Sophomore Katie Morse agreed and said, “They had so much great insight to share.” This was Katie’s first time attending the annual dance. She, along with other students, spent her time talking and dancing with the patients.

A daughter of one of the patient’s, Jennifer Wilcox, explained how her mother looked forward to this event. She said, “When I told her the prom was coming up, a smile grew on her face. It is so nice that the students do this for the patients, it helps them by giving them a reason to dress up and get out. I feel wonderful being here.” The feeling was mutual for the students as well.

Katie said, “Being here makes me feel really great. My grandmother used to be a patient here and I am happy to participate in such an important event and bring smiles to the patients’ faces.”

Senior James Robinson said, “It was really nice to see the patients happy while I danced with them. It’s great because they get to listen to music that played at their proms which brings them back to that special night.”

Joe Kennedy is a patient. He said, “I feel more relaxed today than I have in a long time. I like watching people dance because when I was younger I did a lot of dancing as well. I do feel bad that there are so many girls and not that many boys to dance with, but I am very happy to be here.”

Another patient, Barbara Alconado, agreed with Mr. Kennedy and said, “I wish there were a few more young men here to dance with but overall it’s a lovely prom.”

Barbara Ravera, a recreation aid at Windemere, was pleased with the event. She said, “I think it is fantastic that the students spend their Saturday to participate in such an influential event, absolutely fantastic.”

NHS has high hopes for the future of this event. Mary MacDonald said, “I hope this event continues in the future. The patients look forward to it and they enjoy celebrating with the younger population.”

James said, “I unquestionably hope it continues. It’s special for us all to connect and have a prom together. It makes the patients happy and it makes the students feel like they’ve made a difference.”