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Monday, May 16, 2022

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APO hosts "Great Gatsby" themed senior prom

Senior citizens put on their best dancing shoes for Alpha Phi Omega's 18th-annual prom, themed "Great Gatsby," on April 6 in the Alice Haynes Room.

Senior Ashley Fortner, who was the committee chairwoman of the event, said that the fraternity had expected between 40 and 50 senior citizens to attend. In addition, 76 APO members attended the event, as well as 35 pledges, Fortner said.

"It is a great chance for us to engage with senior citizens," Fortner said.

Amanda Minnitte, president of APO, said the event was a great way to get involved with the community.

"Since we are a service fraternity, one of our big agendas is to hold events with alumni," Minnitte said. "We just want to make sure the community knows we're here and trying to make a difference."

Senior Zach Ledwith said each week APO members took trips to Lakewood Manor to play dominos and spend time with the senior citizens.

"It's a good way to get the seniors citizens out and doing something different," Ledwith said.

Fortner said the most rewarding part about the event was watching the senior citizens having a great time dancing and interacting with Richmond students. There was even a crowning of a prom king and queen, she said.

Betsy Frayser, who lives at Lakewood Manor, said she enjoyed coming to Richmond to see all the young people having a good time.

"All the students come to play games with me on Tuesday nights," Frayser said. "I love anything about University of Richmond."

The senior citizens were excited to dress up, dance and listen to music they grew up hearing, senior Caroline Wisler said.

"What I like about the event the most is that we learn dances like the foxtrot," Wisler said. "It's nice being taught by someone who has been dancing for 50 years."'

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The Doctors of Jazz, composed of eight members, played at the event for its' 12th consecutive year.

"We love it," said Dick Dunsing, who plays the banjo in the band. "We play music from the 1920s. They like to groove to that."

The band was excited about the senior citizens dancing, said Martin Ryle, who plays trombone in the band.

Fortner said: "A lot of the senior citizens look forward to this every year. Often, we don't get to interact with outside community members."

Contact staff writer Rachael Specter at rachael.specter@richmond.edu.

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