PLAISTOW — When Dolores Dooling, 81, of Atkinson received an invitation for an event from Timberlane Regional High School students, she did a double take.
“A prom?” she said. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
But the students are completely serious. Dooling and other area seniors will be attending a special prom for senior citizens at the Timberlane Regional High School cafeteria on Saturday afternoon.
The prom was organized by Timberlane seniors Nicole Dill, Joey Mancinelli and Kayla Gaudet. Dill got the idea while attending a teen leadership seminar last year.
“I thought it could be a fun idea to bring to our community, so I talked to a few of my friends and we are going to put this together,” she said.
Dill said she has received a tremendous amount of response to the program and is preparing for at least 70 seniors to attend.
Some seniors took a little convincing to attend.
“I wasn’t into dressing up and doing that whole thing,” said Joan Fettes, 88, of Atkinson.
The seniors won’t have to wear evening gowns and tuxedos. But they will enjoy an afternoon of dancing the foxtrot, listening to music from their younger years and a performance by the Timberlane Comedy Club.
“It’s going to be different,” Fettes said. “We don’t usually get involved with the youngsters. We are usually doing our own thing, and they’re in their own atmosphere. But this idea is going to be great.”
The prom is open to seniors from Atkinson, Danville, Plaistow and Sandown.
“We have no idea about what goes on in senior centers in the other places,” Dooling said. “But the kids are all in the same building so they know what’s going on in all the different towns.”
Gaudet said it’s important to their generation that seniors know how appreciated they are.
“They’re basically the reason we’re here,” she said. “They get left out and forgotten a lot, so we want to just make sure that they’re remembered.”
The plan is for this will become an annual event.
“We have a couple students who have said they will continue planning it,” Mancinelli said. “My little sister is a freshman and she already says that she wants to plan it for the next three years.”
With the event being less than a week before Valentine’s Day, the prom will have a special theme.
“We wanted it around this time for that reason,” Mancinelli said. “There will be red and white tablecloths with red flowers on the table.”
Faculty advisor Dana Giampaolo joked that he would be keeping an extra eye on the festivities.
“We don’t want it to get romantic,” he said. “We don’t have enough supervision for that.”
Dooling said she was already getting prepared for the dance floor.
“I’ve been taking the senior zumba classes,” she said. “Hopefully, I can keep up with the young kids.”
The prom will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Timberlane Regional High School cafeteria on 36 Greenough Road.