Written by Chris Boyle Friday, 23 May 2014 00:00
If it’s the merry month of May, than anyone who’s anyone knows that it’s time for the gala event of the year—the annual Island Trees Senior Citizen Prom. Hosted once a year at the Memorial Middle School, the prom is geared towards the community’s elder generation, to give them a chance to get out and shake their booty like it was high school all over again.
Linda Rincon is a life-long member of the Island Trees community. She herself attended school in the district, and her children are currently following in her footsteps. She is currently in charge of running the Senior Citizen Prom, which is sponsored by the Community
Awareness Program of Island Trees (CAPIT)—a 20-plus year-old organization that was formed just for this very purpose.
“CAPIT has been having the Senior Citizen Prom for close to 20 years,” Rincon said. “We have the prom every year in May...the seniors are a big part of our community, and if it wasn’t for the seniors, we wouldn’t have the community that we have. So, we always want to thank them for making Island Trees what it is.”
Held in the Middle School’s cafeteria, Rincon said that the appetites of prom attendees are catered to by Zorns of Bethpage, who supply mounds of delicious chicken, salads, dinner rolls, and more. In addition, CAPIT employs the services of a professional DJ to spin the greatest
hits of yesteryear and keep everyone on the dance floor with their toes tapping. To round out the fun, exciting raffles are also offered for the attendees to vie for, inlcuding several items donated by local businesses or individuals.
Turnout for the prom is always stellar, Rincon said, with each year’s event always seeming to outdo the previous one by a large margin; clearly, word is getting around that this is the place to party come mid-May.
“Last year we had about 103 attend, and this year is was 125,” Rincon said. “It’s definitely a popular event, and it gets bigger every year.”
Hicksville residents Theresa Mayfield and her boyfriend Joe Brancaccio, were both newcomers to the Island Trees Senior Citizen Prom. Both said they plan on returning next year after the ball they had that night.
“This is my first time coming to the prom, and I think that it’s wonderful,” Mayfield said. “The music is great and I love it.”
For Brancaccio, the music selection was on point, he explained while listening to the 1961 classic "Runaraound Sue" by Dion, which had been blaring over the cafeteria PA system.
“This is the only real music in the world, what they’re playing here tonight,” Brancaccio said.
Dominic DeMeo and his companion Linda McKenna, both from Levittown, are regulars to the prom, and were clearly one of the more accomplished dancing duos out on the floors that evening.
“This is how to have a great time. Dancing, music, food...it’s wonderful,” he said. “My lady friend and I make it a point to come every year. It’s a great thing that the community does by putting this on for people like us.”
Hicksville resident Barry McQuillen, along with his date Linda Struass, said he’s been to a few other senior proms in his time, but the Island Trees edition—which he was attending for the first time that evening—puts all the others to shame.
“I’m having a great time,” McQuillen said. “You’ve got a fantastic DJ, the meal is good, and there are a lot of nice people here, all having the time of their lives. I’m loving it.”
With people pitching in from every conceivable angle to make it a success every year, the Senior Citizen Prom is the very epitome of a true community event. Run purely by CAPIT volunteers, it is partially funded by a small cover charge of $10 per attendee; the remainder of the costs involved are subsidized by donations from community members as well as funds generated by other programs run by CAPIT, Rincon said.
“At this point, my parents don’t even live in the district, so I could just say that I don’t really have any part in this and hand over running it to someone else,” Rincon said. “However, I just love watching the seniors come every year...they have such fun, and at the end of the event they always thank us...and that makes all the hard work more than worth the effort.”