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The Editor’s Corner/By Tim Cox
A lot of people and organizations come together to pull off the big senior citizens gala each year, but there is one group – in my opinion – that particularly deserves credit.
The gala is right up there at the top of the list of the ‘feel good’ events that go on in Caroline. A pet project of the Rotary Club of Caroline, the gala is a Christmas party of sorts for the county’s senior citizens. They get treated to live Christmas music, a nice dinner, more music and dancing, and presents – a nice night out during the holidays.
The Rotary Club gets a lot of help from churches, the Rappahannock Area Agency on Aging, and others that bring seniors to Caroline High School, where the event is held, and support the event in other ways. That includes business folks – Rotary members and others – who foot the bill.
The students from Caroline High School who participate in this event really distinguish themselves and the school. It is a big event; this year – the gala was held last week – about 500 people were guests. And the students did a lot of work to help pull it off.
When people arrived in the parking lot, they got an escort to the building and inside from students who are members of the high school’s Junior ROTC unit, which was a new touch this year. In the lobby, the guests could check their coats with other students.
As the guests entered the school gym and took a seat they got to listen to alternating performances of the school chorus and the band performing Christmas music.
When the time approached, representatives of the Rotary Club said a few welcoming words, and there was a prayer and the singing of “The Star Spangled Banner” after the JROTC color guard unit presented the flag.
In the school cafeteria, other students working under the supervision of culinary arts teacher Jasper Morton geared up to help serve the dinner they prepared. Remember, that’s dinner for about 500.
A host of other students were in the gym, pouring ice tea and water for guests, and then serving them dinner, which started with a salad.
Afterwards, of course, there was the clean-up work. By the way, students in physical education and strength and conditioning classes were responsible for all the work involved in bringing in and setting up the folding tables and chairs to accommodate 500 people, and then breaking them down afterward and clearing the gym.
In addition to the JROTC, chorus and band, students from the following clubs and organizations volunteered their services for the event: the Culinary Academy, National Honor Society, Beta Club, FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America), and Interact Club.
Talking with principal Harper Donahoe later, he did some quick math. About 275 students volunteered, according to his estimate, which is about 25 percent of the student body.
“It’s a chance for the kids to pay back to the community,” he said.
These youngsters were a credit to their parents, their community, and their school.