Gilroy – For the senior citizens who were not named kings or queens at their high school proms, there will be another chance.
The Gilroy Youth Commission is holding its second annual Senior Prom Saturday at the Gilroy Senior Center, 7371 Hanna St., from 5 to 9pm. The event is put on by the commission, which is made up of 11 teenagers.
"The senior citizens in our community have lived here all their lives," said Rachel Tenney, the chairperson of the commission and a junior at Gilroy High School. "All of them have made great contributions to Gilroy and we're basically just saying thank you for all they've done for us."
The thank you will include dinner catered by Dave Bozzo, the former assistant chief of the Gilroy Fire Department, a performance from South Bay Swing, a 15-piece swing band, and rounds of bingo to start off the night. To fund this, and the decorations to help bring to life the theme of the dance – "Swingin' on a Star" – the group raised more than $4,000, including $2,000 from the Gilroy Rotary Club.
The senior citizens appreciate the teenagers' efforts, said 85-year-old George Goris, who came to Gilroy in 1956 to work as a process food inspector at the Filice and Perrelli Cannery, which closed in the late '90s. Goris attended the inaugural dance held last year in Morgan Hill.
"I think it's a wonderful community service and every one of (the attendees) appreciate the attention, the decoration, the service," he said. "As long as they play our kind of music," he added with a laugh.
The senior citizen dance is one of about 10 events the commission helps to put on each year.
The commissioners – who are selected through an application process and interview with the Gilroy City Council – also volunteer at local events, such as the senior center's Santa Breakfast, the city Community Services Department's Kids Discover Arts day and middle school dances.
The events give the 13- to 18-year-olds a chance to touch every segment of Gilroy's population, said Gayle Glines, a commission liaison.
Reaching out to fellow residents is what the commission is all about, said Tenney.
"I believe that every citizen has a duty to their community and their country and this is my way of giving back."