The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

Annual Senior Citizen Luncheon returns from hiatus

Junior Julin Marcelino-White serves food to a senior citizen at the school’s 45th senior citizen luncheon. “It was really nice to be able to host this event. Its a great gesture by the school,” Key Club vice president Maya Zutsi said.

After a four-year hiatus due to the Covid pandemic, WJ took immense pride in hosting the 45th Senior Citizen Luncheon on Nov. 16, 2023. A tradition with a legacy spanning decades, this event brought together over 150 senior citizens from retirement homes across the community to WJ. The aim was to create an atmosphere of shared joy through food, music and laughter.

The Key Club took on the responsibility of hosting, and worked all month tirelessly planning, communicating with local retirement communities, coordinating with various organizations and carefully managing logistics.

“I’d say it was over 30 hours in planning to get all the details right, so the event could run as smoothly and be as special as possible for our senior attendees,” Key Club President Kathleen Ryder said.

Student volunteers played a crucial role, warmly greeting attendees, managing tables and serving a Thanksgiving meal made by the WJ cafeteria staff. As the senior citizens enjoyed the rich and delicious feast, they exchanged stories and laughter with the students.

Key Club President Kathleen Ryder shares a laugh with a senior citizen attendee. (Courtesy MCPS)

“I was really impressed with how focused the students were on taking care of the senior population. The entertainment was great, but I was particularly taken with the individual attention that the volunteers gave us. We really hope we can come back next year,” attendee Paul Schwartz, 70, said.

Adding to the festive ambiance, the WJ Jazz Ensemble and various a cappella groups performed a medley of holiday-themed songs from different eras.

The senior citizens were energized by these tunes, with many even singing along and taking to the dance floor.

“We have been preparing pretty well, and were all really excited to perform. We got into our costumes for the first time this year, which was fun. The seniors also seem to be loving it,”junior performer Saku Tanaka said.

A standout senior, Shelly Honikman, 82, infused the crowd with excitement through his dance moves. Not only did he showcase his classic dance repertoire, but he generously shared his knowledge, teaching students various dances from the waltz to swing.

“All the students that came out here, and that were dancing and singing. Very impressive. You know, I was in high school way back in the 1950s, in DC. I’m 82 now. Being back in school, talking to the youth. Events like this keep me feeling young!” Honikman said.

Key Club member Aya El Natour dances with a senior citizen at the luncheon. “It was really fun dancing with the seniors. Our generation doesn’t really dance like that anymore, and it was nice to learn those classic moves. There is so much to learn from them,” El Natour said. (Courtesy MCPS)

Overall, both students and seniors enjoyed the event, fostering new connections, gaining fresh perspectives and learning dance moves, spanning from the cha-cha to the griddy.

Lindy Baden, a senior citizen, summed up the sentiment.

“It was a really lovely event. The fact that all these high school students are happy to come and spend time with us old people, who are really young at heart.. we just thought it was a really nice gesture. It’s nice to talk to you guys, learn about your generation, and hopefully, you guys learned from us. We’ve had a lot of life, and it’s nice to be able to share experiences with people across age groups,” Baden said.

1
0
Leave a Comment
Donate to The Pitch
$775
$1000
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Walter Johnson High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Geetanjali Raju, Online News Editor
Senior Geetanjali Raju is excited to participate in her first year with the pitch as a Online News Editor. In her free time, Geetanjali being active, and going out with friends.
Donate to The Pitch
$775
$1000
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Pitch Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *