Hawaiian-themed Senior Citizen Prom is a blast for everyone

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CLARK, NJ — Ladies were wearing leis and grass skirts at the Hawaiian-themed Senior Citizen Prom. And gentlemen looked forward to dancing with them. In true prom spirit, spring was definitely in the air — and so was romance.

The prom took place recently at Arthur L. Johnson High School in Clark, presented by the High School Key Club. Key Club is a community service club and a division of Kiwanis International. It’s one of the high school’s most popular clubs, with more than 200 student members.

“It’s a really cool event,” said 14-year-old freshman Kaitlyn Gallagher, who was volunteering that evening. “We do a lot of things for young people. Bringing seniors together is really nice.”
Her aunt, Marlane Deara, was there for the first time. “It’s great!” Deara said.

Frank Incao, of Manville, was there with Ramona Rademacher of Basking Ridge, who came up with the idea and organized the event. “She’s my date,” he said. “I hope to be dancing later.”

Rademacher is a dance teacher who runs dances for veterans in Middlesex. She has relatives in Clak and contacted the school with the idea.

School counselor Meghan Ryan was the evening’s host.

This was the seventh annual Senior Citizen Prom, which started before the pandemic. The free event was sold out, with 100 attendees. Food was supplied by Calabria Pizza and Restaurant, Phillippo’s Pizza, Pinho’s Bakery, R&J Pizzeria and Dinny’s Dinners. Prizes, which included lottery tickets, pillows and kitchenware, were supplied by the Kiwanis Club of Clark and Key Club students.

DJ Danny Mac was there for the second year and spun tunes spanning several generations, including “Fly Me to the Moon,” “The Way You Look Tonight,” “Rock the Boat” and “Beast of Burden.”

Vinni Pignataro of Woodbridge, said she was there for nostalgia and getting together with friends.

Andy Haspel of New Providence, was there for the people and food. “I’m not a good dancer,” he said. “But I’ll dance anyway.”
Dolores Paruta of Clark, was hoping to win one of the raffle prizes.

“It’s a nice thing the Key Club does for senior citizens,” said Jo Favor, of Clark. “I’ve been coming for at least four or five years.”

Phyllis Edwards of Clark, was there for “fun, companionship and good food.”

Agatha Librizzi of Colonia, added, “It’s nice to be here with people, having a good time, dancing.”

“I texted my friend, ‘Going to the prom. LOL!’” said Suzanne Jaeger of Fanwood. “I’m a fashionista. Nice theme. I’ve been to Hawaii.” The youthful senior was excited about the music and said, “When you hear newer songs, I’m the one who requested them.” Favoring newer music, Jaeger shared that she loves Rihanna, Billie Eilish and The Weekend.

Like all senior proms, it was truly a night to remember for the fun-loving senior citizens.

Photos by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta