A dance is being held this month at Puyallup High School — but it’s not just students who’ll be attending.
As part of its pledge to serve the school and its community, the Puyallup High School Key Club invites local seniors (ages 50 and up) to attend its annual Senior Citizen Ball. Last year’s event drew a crowd of around 100 guests.
“We want to show we care about the people in our community,” said Key Club president and junior Keagen Brendle.
We want to show we care about the people in our community.
Keagen Brendle, Key Club president and junior at Puyallup High School
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That includes older generations, which some students might not get to see all the time, added the Key Club officers.
Brooklyn Garrett, a junior and Key Club officer who will be a co-president next year, said that some seniors might have stereotypes about high school students, and that it’s important to talk and maintain connections with them to break down those preconceived ideas.
“We got a lot of advice from them,” Garrett said about last year’s dance, where she learned how to dance the two-step with one of the guests.
Wayne and Doreen Ridenour live in Puyallup and have attended the dance in previous years. They always enjoy themselves, they said.
“The longer (the dances) went, the more people came, and now it’s a big thing,” said Doreen. “Word gets around. We see people there that we don’t see in other places.”
The longer it went the more people came, and now it’s a big thing. Word gets around… We see people there that we don’t see in other places.
Doreen Ridenour, Puyallup resident
Doreen said high schoolers might have preconceived notions about seniors, too, and that the dance is a way to initiate conversations.
“We’d have some kids come sit with us and talk,” she said, often about their own school experiences.
Jessica Anderson, a math teacher at PHS who is helping coordinate the event, said that many guests are PHS alums.
“(PHS) is where a lot of generations went to school,” Anderson said. “They like to see the school and all the changes.”
“It’s kind of a blast from the past,” agreed Doreen.
Wayne and Doreen moved to Puyallup in 1991 from Montana. Wayne served in the Air Force and retired in 1996. At the ball, students take a moment to recognize guests who have served the country.
“The students are very open and they all come forward. You get into some good conversations,” Wayne said.
The students are very open and they all come forward and you get into some good conversations.
Wayne Ridenour, Puyallup resident
Students greet the guests at the door before heading inside to make sure they’re enjoying the party. The PHS Jazz Band will play live, and refreshments will be available, including sherbet, which is the theme for the Sherbet Ball this year.
“The jazz band has a collection of songs and one of them was called ‘Sherbet,’” said Brendle, who is a member of jazz band himself and plays the trumpet. “We thought the colors (it invokes) were really inviting.”
The ball is scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 24 in the Puyallup High School cafeteria.
“One of the nice things about doing this is that it’s kind of a gloomy time of year and it’s fun to have a party to go to,” Doreen said.