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Hempfield students whisk senior citizens away to 'Paris' for prom

| Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014, 6:49 p.m.
Kim Stepinsky | for the Tribune-Review
(From left) Joyce Patterson, Nancy Glosser, and her husband, Dave Glosser, a retired Hempfield High biology teacher, prefer to listen to the music.
Hempfield students serenade the crowd during last year’s senior prom, held for older residents of the district.

Growing up, Angelo E. Rose did not have an opportunity to go to his prom — or anything like it — because he joined the Navy and went off to the service.

But for the past three years, Rose and his wife of 60 years, Mary, have been attending the Senior Citizen Prom sponsored by Hempfield Area School District each spring.

“It's great what they're doing for senior citizens,” said Rose, 84. “We look forward to it every year. I always see people I know.”

For the past 16 years, this free event has been offered as an opportunity for senior citizens to come together and enjoy an afternoon of dancing, giveaways and entertainment.

About 350 seniors — ranging in age from 65 to 102 — attended last year's prom.

With a “Paris” theme this year, featured music will be from “Les Miserables,” along with a mix of Frank Sinatra and other dance-friendly music.

Gift baskets will have a Parisian flair. Local restaurants and stores have gotten involved as a way to pamper the attendees. Chick-fil-A, Ground Round, Red Lobster, Meadows Ice Cream, Kamps Shoes and Agway are just a few of the sponsors.

“We are the only school district that offers this event,” said Natalie Fetterman, a Spanish teacher at the high school who has been involved with the extravaganza for the past eight years.

“More students get involved as a community service project,” Fetterman said. “The seniors get so excited they count down the days.”

Elexis Anderson, 17, a junior at the high school, has not yet had the opportunity to attend a prom of her own but has been involved in the senior citizen prom for the last two years.

“It's really nice to do something for them and they really seem to enjoy it,” said Anderson, who is not receiving class credit for volunteering. “I had a lot of fun helping out. I just thought it would be a good experience.”

Rose may not have had the opportunity to go to a prom himself, but he said he sent off two of his daughters to attend and knew they had a good time.

Now he gets to enjoy proms too.

Michele Stewardson is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.