St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Kenora hosted a particularly special prom this May.

On the night of the event that usually places focus on dolled-up teens, a group of 40 students instead invited residents of Pinecrest Nursing Home out for an evening of fun.

The event was coordinated by students from Grades 9 through 12, all working to make the night a success. From hanging twinkle lights to plastering stars up on the walls, the students transformed the gym into a 1920s evening of laughing, dancing and building new connections.

“This experience was important because it brought together different generations of our community in a way that would not normally happen without this prom,” Annika, the Grade 12 student who worked with the nursing home to organize the event, said at the time. “It was amazing to see everyone come together and enjoy themselves on such a special evening.”

But it was more than just the new friendships and evening of nostalgia that resonated with the residents. For them, it was a touching experience with an ample impact.

“It made our residents feel special. The fact that the students took time out of their own prom to visit the residents was a very special experience,” Theresa Wilson, the Recreation and Therapy Lead at Pinecrest, told the school board. “An event like this is so wonderful for them to reminisce . . . Residents feel most energized and valued when they are connected to children and youth.”

To see our teens engage with their elders is a great display of the personal values they’ve grown to embody. At Ontario’s Catholic schools, our students are out in the community directly building bridges and helping others. Help us continue our work by sharing this story.

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