Rotterdam prom joins students and seniors

Luis Lupi, of Rotterdam, didn't attend his senior prom at Draper High School because he was serving his country in the Army during World War II.

But, for the past 10 years, Lupi, now 82, has attended Mohonasen's annual Senior Citizens Prom to make up for lost memories.

I come to see old friends, said Lupi, who is an active member of the Rotterdam Senior Center. The senior center co-sponsored the Hollywood-themed event, which took place in the Draper Middle School cafeteria on Friday, May 2.

Dave Collins, Mohonasen's assistant principal, said about 160 seniors and 36 student volunteers attended the event. The school district provided the food, decorations and a disc jockey.

"It's important to show their generation how much we appreciate what they've done for us," said Collins.

Lupi's date, Carmella Martin, said that attending the event reminded her of her own prom in 1947 at Cathedral Academy in Albany.

"My father didn't want me to go to the prom, but one of my friends said I had to go to my senior prom. So she bought me a pink dress and set up a date for me with her cousin," said Martin. "When I met him, I learned he was 7 feet tall, and it was hard to dance with him all night."

While Martin, who stands slightly above 5 feet tall, may have had trouble dancing on the night of her prom, she and Lupi had no problems cutting a rug on Friday to the sounds of big band music, Dean Martin and other favorites from the '40s and '50s.

And the students in attendance, many of them dressed up as Marlon Brando or Marilyn Monroe to fit the party's theme, didn't hesitate to dance with their elders.

The dance floor was filled to capacity all evening, with nearly all of the night's participants wearing broad smiles as they moved easily from ballroom styling to conga lines.

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