MINOOKA – Like any high school dance, students took to the dance floor Saturday night as music pumped from the DJ’s speakers.
The difference at Minooka Community High School’s dance is the seniors weren’t all students.
MCHS National Honor Society juniors and seniors hosted the 15th annual dance for residents 55 and older.
“Every year leading up to and right after the dance, we hear from seniors in the area that they look forward to our dance,” NHS President Nick Donley said. “Every year it’s the most fun event for NHS members.”
For Andrew Anderson, it was a chance to stroll down memory lane as he sat listening to the live performance of the jazz band who performed on stage before the DJ.
Anderson, who attended MCHS in the 1950s, wouldn’t miss the chance to see his son Rick Anderson conduct the jazz band, which his granddaughter, Kelli Anderson, was playing in.
“I like to hear the jazz band, my son is directing, my granddaughter Kelli is on trumpet,” he said. “It’s wonderful. I come every time.”
Anderson also played in his high school band and is proud of his history as a marching Indian.
Larry Sprengel and Sharon Griffin of Diamond come for the dancing, something they travel to do all year long.
The couple takes the time at the dance to teach the students how to do various dances.
“We try to get the flame instilled in them,” Sprengel said.
Griffin, who has been line dancing for years, said the kids learn faster than most adults so she enjoys teaching them.
This year’s NHS students decided to put a new spin on the dance, looking through old yearbooks they decided to theme the dance based on past proms. They started this year with 1964’s “Enchanted Isle” theme.
“I thought the themes we were doing were getting old,” MCHS senior student Kristin Bolek said. “I thought changing it to past proms would be a great way to bring back nostalgia and get more people here.”
The students will continue to build off the past, working their way through each year’s prom theme, with next year requiring a look at the 1965 yearbook.
Donna Engel, sponsor of NHS, said the event is to bring together different aspects of the community.
“It’s important that the students realize senior citizens have so much to teach them,” Engel said. “It also shows them that teenagers have a place in society.”
About 40 people braved the snow Saturday night to attend, out of the 56 who RSVPed that they would attend.
The guests are treated to hors d’oeuvres and dessert to enjoy while listening to several performances.
Both the varsity and junior varsity jazz ensembles took the stage singing songs from a bygone era, as guests watched from their seats. Some were even singing along.
As the jazz band played, Sprengel and Griffin were coaxed onto the dance floor by a group of NHS girls who wanted to learn to dance.
It started with about 10 students and quickly grew to more than 25, as they stood behind the couple trying to mimic their moves on the floor.
Sprengel used his fingers to point the direction they needed to go, as he led the group with a smile on his face.
“In their life dancing was a major social event,” Donley said. “It’s two different cultures coming together.”
Anderson had to agree, as he reminisced about looking forward to a dance after every basketball game.
Students not brave enough to get on the dance floor spread themselves out to the tables that guests were sitting at, holding conversations and getting to know one another.
“Dance and conversation are lost arts,” Engel said. “This is a great thank you to people in our own community who support the high school year around.”