Arts & Entertainment

Livingston Students and Senior Citizens Celebrate 30th Intergenerational Prom

30th Anniversary Intergenerational Prom King David Lin, a junior at LHS, and Prom Queen Ruth Cross, a Navy veteran and longtime Livingston resident Credits: Martha Ackermann
LHS Principal Mark Stern joins student volunteers in serving dessert Credits: Danielle Santola
One last dance: students, committee members and senior citizens take to the floor for The Electric Slide Credits: Danielle Santola
Sponsors supply dinner, dessert and door prizes for 30th annual Intergenerational Prom

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Navy veteran Ruth Cross and Livingston High School (LHS) junior David Lin were named the king and queen of the 30th Anniversary Intergenerational Prom last week, where the Township of Livingston, Livingston Public Schools (LPS), Livingston Education Association (LEA) and the LHS Key Club collaborated to bring Livingston students and senior citizens together to get to know each other as members of the same community.

For more than three hours, students and local seniors lit up the high school cafeteria with smiles and embraced this year’s prom theme, “Celebration Time!”

“This is one of the things that makes Livingston, Livingston,” said LHS Principal Mark Stern. “Here are students, here are seniors from town, here are all the community leaders and educators all coming together to do nothing but have a great time. To enjoy each other’s company, to eat, to dance, to celebrate just being from Livingston and everyone coming together to do that makes it a great annual event.”

Sign Up for E-News

Stern, who has attended nearly half of the 30 proms, was part of the Intergenerational Prom committee along with event chair Bunny Ratner; Liliana Branquinho, supervisor of Senior and Adult Enrichment and Special Events Supervisor; LHS staff members Martha Ackerman and Trish Mattia; Michelle Bent, LPS communication and community outreach coordinator; Michael Fassbender and Nicole Cooper of Aramark Food Service; and LEA member Melissa Cohen.

Committee members and members of the LHS Key Club, Leo Club and other student volunteers served dinner and dessert to their senior guests, while dancing between courses. DJ Randi Rae of Supreme Productions served as Mistress of Ceremonies, and guests enjoyed performances from the AARP Livingstones and LHS Lancer Jazz Band.

Branquinho said the prom king and queen are selected each year based on volunteerism, how much they give back and their involvement within the community. As a Navy veteran, Cross gave back to her country, and in the community, her son teaches line dancing and ballroom classes at the Senior and Community Center.

“She’s a wonderful lady, she’s done a lot for our country and she deserved to be recognized,” said Branquinho.

Lin, a Key Club member since his freshman year, said being named Prom King was completely unexpected, and that dancing with someone as inspiring as Cross was a great experience.

“I think one of the main reasons Key Club is such a great opportunity and different from most of the clubs is because you get to meet so many amazing people who are very dedicated to volunteering and all have unique ideas,” said Lin. “I’ve actually met most of my friends from Key Club. It’s the largest club in the school, so it’s a lot of fun.”

LHS senior Eileen Veng, a former Key Club president and former Intergenerational Prom Queen, said Lin deserved this recognition after the hard work he put into recruiting enough volunteers to help the event run smoothly. She said this is the Key Club’s most popular event, and that planning for it begins early in the school year.

“I’m really glad that there’s as much turnout as last year, if not more, and a lot of the seniors are familiar faces, so it’s really nice,” said Veng, who will be attending University of Pennsylvania in the fall. “I think it’s a really nice way for the high schoolers to connect with that community and for the senior citizens.”

Veng said a highlight of the event was seeing one familiar face among the seniors who brought her own father, a 98-year-old Livingston resident, with her to the event after having so much fun last year.

“It speaks a lot for the community, the fact that the board of education and the town council continue to, year after year, support an event like this,” said Branquinho. “They see the value in it for our seniors and for the residents, so I think that’s really what keeps [the event] going. People look forward to it every year, so we’re very happy to continue to offer it.”

Branquino also acknowledged the nearly 30 local businesses that donated more than 40 door prizes, food and more to the event.

“This has become one of the town’s annual icon events in the senior community—You can tell everybody has a great time,” said Livingston Mayor Ed Meinhardt. “We are very appreciative of the work that Liliana Branquino does, and having the kids from the Key Club and the other organizations involved with putting this together just brings this evening to what it is. They really add a great touch to it, they make these great props, they make decorations and they help the seniors when needed. It’s just a great town event and it was fun to participate.”

As seen in the video above, the seniors and students held hands while singing "God Bless America" to cap off the event. A full list of all sponsors can also be found in the photo album above. 

Don’t miss important news in your town. Click HERE to subscribe for free, or follow us on Facebook and on Twitter at @LivingstonTAP.

Download the FREE TAPinto App: Click here for Android or Click here for iOS

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Save $2.50 on Next Visit to Livingston Car Wash

July 17, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Drivers can save $2.50 the next time they get their vehicle cleaned at Livingston Car Wash.

Come to Livingston Car Wash at 111 E. Mt. Pleasant Avenue for a car wash and $2.50 will be discounted from the regular price.

$100 OFF per Week for Summer Camp Now!

Guerrero Marital Arts is now offering an 8-week summer camp for summer 2018!

Pick which weeks you want!

Camp Weeks are:

July 16, July 23, July 30, August 6, August 13, August 20, August 27

Includes the following:

Fun (through Sports, Play and Games)
Field Trips (may cost extra)
Life Lessons
Reading Time
Martial Arts
A great place to ...

Upcoming Events


Sat, July 21, 12:30 PM

CycleBar Livingston, Livingston

Bike for the Bean

Giving Back Health & Wellness


Sat, July 21, 7:30 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, SHORT HILLS

Solid Gold with Bobby Valli at Par 440

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Man Stabbed in Valley Section of West Orange

July 18, 2018

WEST ORANGE – A West Orange man was stabbed Sunday evening during an attack in The Valley section of the township, according to officials.

Police were called the 300 block of Valley Road around 5:45 p.m. on a report of an aggravated assault. The 28-year-old victim was stabbed during an attack by a group of individuals who later fled the scene, according to township spokeswoman Susan ...

Public Invited to Essex County Opioid Use Prevention Task Force Meeting

July 15, 2018

CALDWELL, NJ — All Essex County residents, mayors and councils, law enforcement members, school officials, clergy members, civic organizations and more are invited to join in the next Essex County Opioid Use Prevention Task Force meeting on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. to discuss how the Essex County communities can join work together to eradicate this epidemic.

The meeting will be held at the ...

Extra Time

It was close to 70 minutes into the match and I had to go to the bathroom.  Badly.

As fans watching the World Cup know too well, bathroom breaks are a serious dilemma, especially for those who don’t have a TV in the loo.  This biological necessity is exasperated by beer, which during World Cup matches also fuels a strong propensity to throw chairs and instigate riots.

5 Simple Ways to Save Water this Summer

According to the L.A. Times, the average American uses an estimated 98 gallons of water EACH day.  

Here are five simple ways you can save water, to help you conserve water this summer and take some pressure off of your drains.

1. Unless you are using it, turn the faucet off. How many of us still leave the water running while we shave or brush our teeth?According to ...