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Olympic torch for golden agers

  • Lisa and Bryan Rex serve punch to Gladys Polgar and Ronnie Graver. Lisa recalled the day she wanted to see her brother after a sports event and dressed as a journalist to get into the boys locker room.
    Lisa and Bryan Rex serve punch to Gladys Polgar and Ronnie Graver. Lisa recalled the day she wanted to see her brother after a sports event and dressed as a journalist to get into the boys locker room.
Published June 01. 2012 05:01PM

The National Junior Honor Society of Northern Lehigh Middle School held a senior prom for senior people. They baked 520 pumpkin rolls to raise $3,000 for the group service project. To be members of the Junior Honor Society students had to maintain a 90 percent average.

Since it is an Olympic year, that was the theme of the prom. The flame towered over the event that made memories for the students and adults.

The kids did everything: cooked dinner, made the decorations and arranged the entertainment, said Advisor Jason Graver.

There were 178 grandparents of Honor Society kids as well as members of the community invited. The advisors for the Honor Society are Graver, Susan Bowser and Rick Eckhart.

Gavin Kemery, Honor Society president, said the project has been held for 10 years. A photo station was held and prom pictures were taken as people arrived. They were put in folders and presented to the attendees.

"It's a great experience. Our goal is to have them leave with smiles on their faces thinking 'this was a great day,'" said Kemery. To participate students not only had to maintain the 90 percent grade average but put in 10 hours of volunteers service.

Red, white and blue balloons and small lights around the gym turned it into a magical place for the evening.

As people gathered, Aiden Burke, a former student, played the piano.

The banner for the Olympic Dreams spelled out the theme. Divine Soundz DJs provided music.

The invocation included "a blessing for these wonderful kids who spent hours and hours getting ready."

Small flags were used in the table centerpieces representing most of the countries that will be in the Olympics.

The servers were very attentive. Each was assigned to certain tables and were quick to respond whenever anything was needed. Tyler Gruber was caught enjoying a moment with his grandfather Frank Malik. Kasey Wayda got a taste of dinner from her grandmother Barbara Turk. Families bonded in a new way through the prom.

The buffet was removed and the floor opened for dancing.

Doneta and Larry Merkle carried the torch to light the Olympic flame. Doneta was a secretary at the middle school for 20 years before she moved on to the administrative offices for an additional 13 years. They were accompanied by their granddaughter Alexis Merkel. As the flame was lit people cheered, just as they will at the Games in London on July 27.

"Now we want everyone out here for the macarina," said DJ Randall C. Other group dances such as the Hokey Pokey, chicken dance and electric slide kept the floor filled.

Society members used a spinner to choose the winner for the cakewalk. There were so many cakes that there had to be a man's and a woman's division because the floor would not hold everyone at once. The winners received a certificate and were told where they could choose their cake.

Some people will never dance fast so here'a slow one - and "Can't Help Falling in Love" was played.

Kevin C. Carr, a former member of the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus, performed his juggling and balancing act.

Thomas Dooley was asked to come help with an act. Carr rubbed a dollar bill on Dooley's head and it rose majestically into the air.

Bright red clown noses magically flew from Zach Rex to Darby Pender. Butch Corvino watched as Carr passed a long needle through a balloon without breaking it.

Carr rode a tall unicycle around the floor and then balanced it on his forehead. His final act was to balance on his chin the ladder he had been using.

He extracted a promise from the kids: "I promise what I see here I will not try at home. I'll go to the neighbor's house," Carr said.

"Cotton Eye Joe" and "YMCA" was a return to dancing.

An anonymous donor gave a gift to the prom committee. It was a hanging plant and the winner was chosen by answering questions about their high school career: If you went to Slatington High School, stay standing, If you played sports, stay standing. If you graduated prior to 1960, stay standing - prior to 1955, to 1950 and there were still three, all of whom were 1949 graduates. They all played basketball and were majorettes. The winner was the person with a birthday closest to prom day.

Graver unrolled the red carpet. King Bill Turk gracefully marched up the carpet where he received his crown, a sash and a cape. He was followed by Ina Spykers, his queen, who received a tiara, sash and flowers. The couple danced the first dance to the music of "Could I Have This Dance for the Rest of My Life," and then danced with their spouses as the floor filled again.

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