Confession time: I did not attend my senior prom. My then-boyfriend-now-husband is a year older, and I went to his senior prom. (With him, of course.) The next year, when mine rolled around, I had a case of “been there, done that.” But that was before proms became more elaborate than the coronation ceremonies of many small European nations, and if I had to choose now, I might do things differently.
Last Friday, I had a chance to return to my former high school for a senior prom. No, I didn’t hit my head and have a Peggy Sue Got Married experience—that would have made for a different blog post entirely. Instead, I volunteered at the 11th Annual Elderhaus Senior Prom.
Elderhaus, and its partner facility Mindset, provide a host of services, both mobile and on-site, for seniors and special needs adults age 18 and older. Founded in 1980, Elderhaus was the first adult day program in Colorado and has since expanded to enrich the lives of well over two thousand people. Much of what Elderhaus does—including direct care, nutrition assistance, mentoring and counseling, and deciphering Medicare benefits—helps keep its clients out of nursing facilities and in their own homes.
And once a year, Elderhaus hosts a senior prom at Poudre High School.
I experienced a bit of déjà-vu as I returned to my old stomping grounds, though the school has changed a lot, having been expanded and remodeled some years ago. When I arrived, the PHS students, many from IB student council, were busy hanging lights and snowflakes to transform the cafeteria into a winter wonderland. I spread tablecloths, put out a few dessert trays (that’s some nice creampuff arranging, if I do say so myself), and in general tried to look more helpful than I actually was.
The musicians from the Glenn Shull Big Band took the stage, and suddenly, it seemed, the room was full. (Mr. Shull was the band director when I was at Poudre, and he’s provided the music for all 11 Senior Proms.) Seniors tend to be a prompt group, and people arrived right on time and ready to eat. Students from the PHS catering class were on hand in their chef’s whites to serve the food, some of which they had also prepared.
After dinner, Elderhaus and Mindset crowned their prom queens, and children of all ages shared a dance with parents and grandparents. The evening was fun, festive, and very well-attended. Poudre High School and the Elderhaus staff and volunteers obviously put a lot of hard work into this free, intergenerational event. I’m sure it’s the highlight of the year for many people, and it showed me that no one is ever too old—or too young—to attend a senior prom.