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The prom began, as all proms do, with a band. 


In front of rose- and lavender-colored balloons, the Upper School Jazz Band made their 2023-24 debut for the arrival of guests from the Glen Cove Senior Center and greeted them with a hearty musical welcome in the Dolan Center Atrium.

Held on March 7, the Junior/Senior Citizen Prom is an annual service learning event that the Junior Class hosts each year. Students plan the event, decorate the space, serve the meal, and share dinner with seniors as they trade stories about each other’s lives.


“The importance of having events like these is to unite people that wouldn’t necessarily be in the same room together,” remarks junior Morgan Washington. “It’s really nice to benefit from their wisdom,” she adds.

US Senior Citizen Prom with Jrs 24-6

Under fairy-light covered vines and homemade tissue flowers, juniors and their seniors began to break the ice with board games that students had brought in from home. From cards to Jeopardy to Uno, the mood is upbeat and the chatter spills out among sparkly blouses and Veteran caps. A huge roar erupts from one table as the Jenga pieces collapse in a heap.


“I must pass here 10 times a day,” says Glen Cove Center senior Rosie O’Brien. “I think it’s fabulous and I love it!’ she exclaims. “I grew up in Ireland and was the oldest of nine children. I landed in Locust Valley and my first job was at the Creek Club when I was 17,” says Mrs. O’Brien. “I love this country.”

US Senior Citizen Prom with Jrs 24-30

While directing students and dismissing tables to the buffet line, Junior Assistant Dean Cullen Player points out the important benefits of intergenerational learning. “Part of the spirit of the event is to interact with people they don’t interact with generally – to hear stories with different perspectives,” he says.

US Senior Citizen Prom with Jrs 24-7

It is Norman’s first time to the event. A Vietnam veteran, Norman’s tour lasted between 1963 and 1967. “I was an engineer and it was supposed to be one year,” he remembers. “When you come home from a war you don’t talk to anyone. I just wanted to get on a motorcycle,” he reveals. Norman later married. “My wife was deaf and taught me how to sign,” he says. “Both her parents were also deaf.”

To the students surrounding him, Norman urged them to learn as much as you can. “You need to question things that happen,” he emphasizes. 

Junior Class Dean Leanne Loizides looks around in amazement at the hubbub of activity and energy. “For the kids, it’s such a moment of growth,” she says. “How do I interact with strangers? How do I make sure I’m being as polite as I can? How do I engage? The idea of serving dinner before I eat and doing it as a class,” she adds. “It’s a real bonding moment for them.”


For Annette Capobianco, it’s her second time here. “Last year, my friend Nancy talked me into it,” she shares, pointing at Nancy. “She said it’s fantastic and she was right. And this year, I got my friend, Honey, to come,” she adds with a smile. “I love the young people. They are so full of life and their whole life is in front of them and that’s wonderful. Some are tennis players,” she says as she motioned to three students sitting with her at the table. “They are full of enthusiasm and they are kind. Follow your dreams,” she says as she smiles across the table, “and don’t let anyone or anything stop you.”

As dinner winds down, junior Aislinn Frazer seeks out Mrs. Loizides. “Okay, there are some people at our table that are asking to dance,” she states. “It looks like we have some disco enthusiasts and some for the Electric Slide,” she adds. 

US Senior Citizen Prom with Jrs 24-35

US Senior Citizen Prom with Jrs 24-4

US Senior Citizen Prom with Jrs 24-8

And just like that, the music takes a turn and it’s the seniors showing the juniors the latest dance floor moves.

US Senior Citizen Prom with Jrs 24-50-1

Photography by Alvin Caal/Friends Academy

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