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Teens & seniors dance the night away at prom
Prom Queen Peggy Thompson and Prom King Jim Spears dance with fellow members of the royal court. - photo by HIME ROMERO
It was seniors dancing with seniors Friday night.

And it was your conventional dance.

For the third year in a row, the Manteca Youth Advisory Commission and the Senior Advisory Committee hosted the annual Senior Prom – mixing generations and allowing for each to learn a little bit more about the other.

“It’s an intergenerational event where the seniors who just graduated get a chance to meet the seniors here at the Senior Center,” said Brandy Clark of the Manteca Parks and Recreation Department. “It’s a unique experience, but it’s one that I think both sides enjoy.”

And while it started out relatively slow – with the Senior Center regulars on time and the recently graduated making a fashionably late entrance – the two sides eventually began to mix together as the evening progressed.

With two other events in town going on simultaneously, Senior Advisory Committee member Byrl Knutson – who attended the first Senior-Senior Prom three years ago – was slightly worried that the turnout wouldn’t be as good as expected.

But as people trickled in, he began to show signs of hope that the goal of the event – that the two generations would be able to socialize and learn from each other in a fun environment – was far from lost.

“Not everything stays the same, and things change from generation to generation,” Knutson said. “But there are a lot of similarities as well. In the 1950s, Elvis was all the rage, but our parents didn’t (like) us listening to that. I’m sure that there are a lot of the same things going on in the lives of these young people today. You’ve got to go with the flow, and this gives us a chance to learn about how they think, what trends are, and what they enjoy.”

Fellow senior Neil W. Seipel summed it up quite well.

“We’ve been where they are, we’ve seen what they’ve seen,” he said. “We’re looking back right now and they’re looking forward to where they have to go, and when you have two sides that are facing that, you can learn a lot from one another.”

Hailee Bouthillier – a member of the Youth Advisory Commission – agreed that it was a chance for both generations to learn from one another, and share experiences that both sides can enjoy.

“I think that it’s a great chance for the younger generation to learn from those who have lived,” she said. “And it gives the older generation a chance to learn about the generation of today, and feel hip and young again.”