Seniors and students dine and dance at LiLY party

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By Brian Sweeney
Senior citizens and students alike enjoyed a Senior Supper and Dance at Margaretville Central School on October 8, as an extension of “Love an Elder Day.”
Organizers said the event was an unqualified success with seniors and students all enjoying the camaraderie. Approximately 75 senior citizens turned out for the event that featured students and staff serving the guests. After dinner, a DJ cranked up “oldies” tunes and young and older took to the dance floor to enjoy the fun.
Carol Norwick, secretary to Principal Linda Taylor, said the dinner-dance was a smash hit all-around.
“It was a wonderful event. Everyone enjoyed themselves,” she commented. “We have received e-mails, thank you cards and people stopping by to see some of the pictures I had taken.”
Ms. Taylor inititated the idea for the event and she and Mrs. Norwick worked with staff and community members to coordinate the outing.
Students, faculty and staff helped decorate the school, make carnation corsages, serve dinner (which was prepared by Cafeteria Manager Connie Mathiesen and her staff). Many people donated baked goods for dessert.

Positive feedback
Mrs. Norwick added, “What I have heard from so many seniors was that the best part of the entire evening was the students. And the students told me they had more fun that evening than at their own dances. It was great for everyone to share this time together.”
Mrs. Norwick noted that, “The students commented ‘Our seniors know how to dance better than we do.’ The students also enjoyed trying to learn the past dancing styles.”
The school hopes to continue this event each October.

Community focus
Irene Zola, who has a home in Fleischmanns, is the executive director Lifeforce in Later Years (LiLY), a nationally-recognized nonprofit based in Manhattan that spreads the ideals of Love an Elder Day on a year-round based.
Because of Ms. Zola’s connection to the area, LiLY this year selected Margaretville as a model town for demonstrating the impact of positive changes that can be implement to benefit senior citizens.
Ms. Zola points out that senior citizens “are often stigmatized by a youth-centered culture and often constrained by reduced mobility and limited income.”

Everyone takes part
The supper and dance at Margaretville Central School were held a week after “Love an Elder Day,” which is now celebrated across New York State on October 1. Ms. Zola noted that once plans began taking shape for the local celebration, many businesses and individuals jumped on board to assist.
NBT Bank, Freshtown Marketplace, the Cheese Barrel and Dollar General were among the primary supporters in promoting “Love an Elder Day.”
Ms. Zola invited seniors from the community to visit the LoveAnElder.org website to post a comment about what they did to celebrate this event.