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Many years ago, 27 to be exact, an idea was thought of that would bring the graduating class at Hilltop High School on the cusp of entering adulthood together with the senior citizens of the community. A dinner was planned and fun was had. Every year since, the same dinner has taken place bringing together two pieces of society that would not necessarily have a big connection.
Last Thursday at the Seniors Circle in Whitecourt, teens and 105 seniors enjoyed the yearly tradition. The cross-generational event started with dinner and was followed with desserts and live entertainment, put on by the students.
Kristine Woodford, math teacher at Hilltop and an executive member of the Grad Committee, said the students enjoyed finding out about relatives who attended Hilltop whether they were grandparents or a senior’s child, “They get to see how deep-rooted the connections are and are made aware of that after visiting with them.”
Mrs. Woodford said she noticed a certain student being extra helpful throughout the evening. “Matthew Nakucyj was on fire with help and support. He seated guests, helped them with their food, and asked if they wanted beverages. It was so nice to see him out there having a great time.”
“I have worked with this class since they were in grade nine,” said Kristine, “so, to see them now becoming young adults and getting ready to go out into the world, I’m pleased with who they’ve become and I’m looking forward to the great things they will do. They should be very proud.”
Two lovely ladies who sat together were student Amelia Hadley and senior Donita Young. “Coming from a grade 12 perspective, it’s really cool to be here. All these seniors had this moment. They’ve experienced what it’s like to graduate and what it’s like afterwards. It’s really cool to have two different people from two different places together and have that conversation and be able to interact and have a laugh together,” said Amelia.
Donita seconded that thought and mentioned that she loves these dinners. “I’ve been coming to them for a few years. I really enjoy seeing everyone and talking to the kids because they are so open.”
Music played into the evening thanks to very talented students including Payton Levins, Amelia Hadley, Rachel Wise, Dylan Whittmann, Marshall Cebuliak, Chantelle Calitz, Rebecca Lee, and Katlyn Szybunka. A big thank you to the Blackstock family for all the work they did for the event, and a shout out to the other two members of the board, Elan Properzi and Vanessa Long.