by Susan Mikula Campbell
Even though, in some cases, there were 75 years and more between them, local high school students and senior citizens obviously enjoyed an afternoon of dining, dancing and chatting on Sunday at Antonio's Banquet and Conference Center in Niagara Falls.
It was the Health Association of Niagara County's 10th anniversary Senior Prom. It brought together 137 seniors and 138 student volunteers from nine school districts, including two in Erie County, according to John W. Kinner, HANCI executive director.
When it was mentioned that some students were concerned that Sunday's downpour during Hurricane Sandy's advance would keep the older generation away, the seniors in the packed room just laughed.
It was the second prom for Chester Stachura of Wheatfield.
"It's a Sunday to get out and meet some of the younger people and see how they are doing and how things are different now," he said. "It's nice to see people show an interest in the older generation."
Prior to sitting down to a turkey dinner, seniors and their "dates" had their pictures taken. They also had a chance to meet election candidates. State Sen. George Maziarz was on hand, as well as Assemblyman John Ceretto (who had brought his own contingent of seniors - mom, aunt and uncle) and his opponent Robert Restaino (a former HANCI board member).
After dinner, seniors and students hit the dance floor. The seniors seemed to enjoy participating in, or at least watching others do, the "Locomotion" or sway to Sinatra's "Strangers in the Night." Most, however, passed on the music of the younger generation, although the Black Eyed Peas did lure a few to hitch up their pants and kick off their shoes.