By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
A real senior prom
Teens & seniors dance the night away
Nancy Lewis, right, gets in some line dancing on the dance floor during Thursdays Senior/Teen Prom at the Manteca Senior Center hosted by the Youth Advisory Commission. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Heather Herrera has attended every Teen-Adult-Senior Prom since its inception four years ago.

This year was different.

That’s because she played an instrumental role in chairing the event on behalf of the Youth Advisory Commission.

“I’ve always looked forward to this prom,” Herrera said at Friday’s special occasion held at the Manteca Senior Center. “But this was the first time that I got to work behind the scenes.”

A big fan of the Beatles, she even came up with this year’s theme, “Hard Day’s Night Rock ‘N Roll.”

Herrera, who recently graduated from Venture Academy, also looked forward to dancing with some of the seniors.

“This year, I worked a lot (at the Manteca Senior Center) and I got to know some of them,” she said.

Many in attendance came dressed to impress to the prom-style evening of music, fun, appetizers, beverages and even souvenir photos, wearing semi-formal and formal attire to the fourth annual event held at the Manteca Senior Center.

In an effort to bridge the generational gap, the Youth Advisory Committee along with the Senior Advisory Committee once again worked together to co-sponsor the Teen-Adult-Senior Prom.

“It seems as if it’s getting easier to plan each year,” said Senior Advisory Committee chair Don Reed, who grew up during the time of vinyl records and juke boxes.

These teens are products of the digital music era of iPods and MP3 players.

Reed also noticed a few generational differences based on his previous experience at the event.

“They like to dance to music that’s fast and loud, and we usually like to dance to music that’s nice and slow,” he said.

But once the dancing started – Jamm’n Jumpers featuring deejay Victor Lujan who came in as a last-minute replacement – teens and seniors came together to the tunes regardless of era.

For example, they filled the dance floor for DJ Casper’s Cha-Cha Slide: “right foot two stomps, left foot two stomps – slide to the left, slide to the right – crisscross, crisscross.”

They were in unison to the Village People’s YMCA.

They also lined-danced to Brooks & Dunn’s Boot Scootin’ Boogie.

When it came to playing Elvis Presley’s Hound Dog, Julie and George Gaspar finally had a chance to display some of their dance moves.

It’s no wonder – they’re part of the Manteca Senior Center dance group that meets two Sundays a month.

“We enjoy dancing,” Julie Gaspar said. “It’s what keeps us young.”