A different senior prom
Rebecca Clock stands between the prom queen, Paulette DeCrescenzo of Islip (who happens to be her grandmother), and the prom king, Bay Shore resident Dennis Casey.

Courtesy photo

A different senior prom

Story By: LIZ FINNEGAN
5/2/2019


Local Girl Scout plans a special evening out for veterans who missed a milestone for service

 

ISLIP—Anticipation grew as the elegantly dressed couples arrived at the Rusy-Bohm American Legion Post 411 in Islip last Saturday night. The couples, most of them senior citizens, stepped into the post and back in time to their high school Senior Prom. For some, it was an experience they missed because they were called away to war.

The idea of providing this event was the brainchild of St. John the Baptist junior Rebecca Clock, a member of Girl Scout Troop 1968. The Islip resident decided to do it as her Gold Award project for the Girl Scout’s highest honor. Her mother, Renee DeCrescenzo Clock, said that the whole family has been invested in the post as members, and Rebecca is a junior member there as well.

“She’s there all of the time,” said Renee. “After speaking with the veterans, she learned some of them were unable to go to their prom. That’s when she said, ‘That’s what I’m going to do for my project.’ She wanted to do something to impact people’s lives. And the veterans are very close to her heart,” she added.

The veterans ranged from serving in WWII, Korea and Vietnam. “But she put [the notice of the event] out on social media and invited any local veterans,” added Renee. The results were overwhelming. Around 75 people attended the prom.

“My father and both of my grandfathers had been in the military,” said Rebecca. “I’ve seen how it can change a person. They don’t get as much appreciation as they should.”

She said after speaking with some, she realized a need. “They didn’t get to experience that once-in-a-lifetime [event]. I thought this would be something they’d like.” She noted that they were confused by the concept at first, but once everything started to come together, it all caught on.

Joanne Johnson, president of the post’s ladies auxiliary, mentored Rebecca throughout the process. “She’s a very special young lady who understands community service,” Johnson said, noting that she collaborated with her on the theme, invitations and on a number of other aspects.

Putting on a prom is no easy task, especially one that’s free of charge for attendees. Rebecca was able to garner donations from food, flowers to entertainment that included a 1950/’60’s band and even a Frank Sinatra impersonator. Local businesses donated enough items to fill 30 raffle baskets. The Islip High School Post-Prom Committee helped provide the decorations that included transforming the wood-paneled interior of the post with elegantly painted scenes on curtains. 

Once the prom kicked off, the revelers were seen kicking their heels on the dance floor to the tunes from their youth. At one point during the night, they even crowned a prom queen and king, whose names were both picked from a hat.

“It was like they were back in high school again,” Rebecca said. “It was so amazing to watch.”