The RunDown

The RunDown

Senior Citizen Prom Extravaganza Sponsored by Interact

Senior citizens getting their boogie on!

If you thought prom season was over, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

On Wednesday, March 27th, senior citizens residing in River Edge & Oradell dressed up after hours and got their groove on for prom at RDHS! As a 20-year annual tradition sponsored by Interact Club, Ms. Sagalchik and Ms. Fontan worked tirelessly to assemble this luminous dinner dance for our community, giving senior citizens the opportunity to dance the night away to live music performed by AU Guys, a senior band that has performed for the senior citizens’ prom for years.

The night was accompanied by a scrumptious entrée, refreshments, and dessert served throughout the night. There were several student volunteers prior and during the evening to help with preparation for the big night ahead, transforming our school’s cafeteria into a chic and tranquil space for everyone attending. One may be asking, how did Interact Club assemble this unforgettable night in merely a few hours after school, making seniors look forward to prom every year?

Interact Club is known for their events over the years and their unconditional service to our River Dell community. For 20 years, Interact has been sponsored by the Oradell-Emerson Rotary that brings adults together to ‘provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through [their] fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders’ (Rotary International).

Rotaries exist for thousands of communities around the world, and the Oradell-Emerson Rotary encourages both high school and college level students to volunteer, providing service hours that may be required to graduate which allows students to shine on their college applications. By giving back to the community, volunteers are also given hours of community service, so it’s all positive!

Before this year’s prom was confirmed, there were several senior citizens asking if it was still going to happen. Ms. Sagalchik has had much experience with running it and couldn’t believe how many calls she was getting many months before-hand. “I’ve been doing this prom for 8 years” Ms. Sagalchik stated. “We did have to take off one year during COVID, but it’s been going on for 20 years. Every year, senior citizens call me before I even advertise it, asking if it’s still happening; so, it’s obvious that they’re looking forward to it every year in the spring.”

Right after the final bell rang for the school day, students involved in the Interact Club arrived at the cafeteria, ready to start move on the décor for the night. Instructed by Ms. Fontan, students began blowing up balloons for the River Dell themed arc, that would be the backdrop for photo opportunities for both seniors and volunteers who wanted to get their pictures taken with friends.

Volunteers also prepared tables by placing the pink flowered table centers on each, also placing gifts for the senior citizens, which were flashlights gifted by the River Dell Education Association. Students were also asked to fill up gift bags that were going to be distributed for their raffle, giving out gifts such as coloring books, wine, and more! Finally, volunteers set up lights around the cafeteria, as well as balloons to light up the atmosphere and welcome in senior citizens at 5:00.

Seniors took their seats and talked amongst themselves, being provided with refreshments and jazz music to welcome their arrival. Volunteers distributed salads as an appetizer for the senior citizens, while some quickly ran to the dance floor with their partners, showing us how it’s done. During this time, a hired photographer was waiting alongside the balloon arc, allowing senior citizens and even volunteers to take photos, get them printed, and have them as a souvenir to remember the night.

Once all the tables were taken up, the caterers were ready for everyone to come up and pick out their entrees for the night, giving them the options of an Italian cuisine, offering mac & cheese, pasta, meatballs, eggplant parmesan, salad, and bread. Senior citizens were not hesitant in grabbing seconds, and Ms. Sagalchik brought out containers for anyone who wanted to bring food home as well.

After their scrumptious entrée, seniors began crowding the dance floor to the sound of trumpets, saxophones, drums, keyboards, and guitars played by AU Guys. Volunteers conversed with seniors that were sitting, learning more about them and even getting them out of their shell. Ms. Sagalchik stressed the importance of students volunteering for events like this, as she states, “This prom allows students to interact with senior citizens, it allows them to learn how to help others in the community; students become servers as they help clean, dance, and they just have fun. It’s nice to see students have smiles on their face while they’re helping out because they’re learning something. They’re having fun and learning something at the same time.”

For the first time, Interact had an ice cream station along with their desserts, giving seniors and volunteers the opportunity to grab some ice cream to cool themselves down with a delicious treat thanks to the River Dell Education Association. “We’re trying something new this year” Ms. Sagalchik adds. “We’ll see how it goes, because senior citizens love food, and it’s gone on the spot!”

And her prediction came true: the ice cream bar was a hit! Senior citizens quickly ran to get their choice of ice cream, and it ran out before other desserts of cookies and cupcakes. Without a doubt, this year’s ice cream station will definitely become part of the tradition for prom!

By the end of the night, seniors were still dancing their heart out, while volunteers were preparing to call out the winners of the raffle prizes. There were about 10-12 prizes to give out, and seniors were overjoyed to win their prizes! By 7:45, seniors began to depart the cafeteria, and volunteers began to clean up. Safe to say that this year’s senior citizen prom was a hit!

Although the prom was an unforgettable night, this isn’t the last we hear of Interact events this year. In May, Interact plans to have a barbeque for veterans in the Paramus Veterans Home. Ms. Sagalchik states, “We are in the early stages of planning. We are also going to invite students apart of Tri-M Honor Society to come and perform in the veterans’ home as a thank you for their service from RDHS.”

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