Seniors Go All In at Casino-Themed Prom

Office of Government and Community Relations hosts annual prom for local senior citizens.

Senior Prom
Ms. Senior D.C. Mary McCoy dances at this year's senior prom.
April 15, 2013

Blackjack tables, oversized playing cards and inflatable dice decorated the Charles E. Smith Center at the George Washington University’s 11th annual senior prom on Saturday. To match this year’s “Casino Royale” theme, some attendees arrived decked out in Bond-worthy suits and dresses fit to dance the day away.

The Office of Government and Community Relations, part of the Division of External Relations, worked with the D.C. Office on Aging to reach out to senior citizens in different wards, inviting residents from housing facilities like U Street’s Paul Laurence Dunbar and Foggy Bottom’s St. Mary’s Court. More than 100 student and staff volunteers lent a hand and helped serve food, lead games of bingo and pump up the crowd by showing off their moves.

“I’m meeting other students who love helping people,” volunteer and senior history major Kwasi Agyeman said. “Seeing the seniors excited and dancing with us has been the best part—they’re really enjoying themselves.”

Dunbar residents Michael Leroy Gresham and Watson Mills moved to the beat as the DJ spun classics by the Temptations and the Supremes.

“If it weren’t for events like this, we’d be bored at home weaving baskets or something,” Mr. Gresham said with a laugh. “This is what it’s all about. I’m going to go back home and tell everyone who didn’t come they missed out.”

Even a few local beauty queens stopped by the event. 2012’s Ms. Senior D.C. Mary McCoy and first runner-up Nancy Berry joined past pageant winners clad in glittery sashes and tiaras. The ladies took pictures and mingled with the crowd.

Ms. McCoy, who represents the senior community throughout D.C., was particularly impressed by the enthusiasm of the volunteers.

“It’s a beautiful day out, and for them to make the sacrifice to be here for the seniors is just phenomenal,” Ms. McCoy said.

“It sends a message that they are supportive of seniors,” Ms. Berry noted, adding the prom was a perfect example of the university showing its commitment to the community. “They really care to open up their facility up for events like this.”

Because no prom is complete without a royal court, two seniors received the honor of prom king and queen. This year’s leading couple was James Lake, clad in a bright green suit, and Ms. McCoy, who received a second tiara atop her head.

Once the crowning ceremony was over, it was back to the dance floor as both volunteers and the seniors joined forces for a few final songs.