Students forge friendships, establish traditions at senior luau

On Sunday Sept. 23, Geneseo students coordinated an effort to treat local senior citizens to food, dancing and leis at the Livingston County Luau Dinner Dance at the Quality Inn on Lakeville Road.

Junior Celeste Hoelzl took on the task of creating the evening of fun. Hoelzl said she was inspired by a senior citizen dinner-dance that she hosted in high school, now an annual event.

Wanting to bring her project to Geneseo, Hoelzl recruited some friends and classmates to create a day to remember for local seniors.

Hoelzl funded the luau with the help of the $5,000 James N. Leary Ambassadorship in Leadership from the Center for Inquiry, Discovery and Leadership. The night consisted of a dinner, a DJ and dancing set in a festive luau atmosphere featuring a tiki bar.

One of the highlights of the night was the modified limbo dance where students and senior citizens could walk right under the bar.

Junior Alison Treichel, who volunteered with Hoelzl during the event, said one of the most memorable moments for her was helping a man in a wheelchair to stand up and pass under the limbo bar.

Hoelzl said the senior citizens loved the DJ so much that they didn’t want to stop dancing and got his business card.

According to Hoelzl, the students who helped with the event were surprised at how much fun they had.

Junior Rebekah Steinke said she loved listening to the senior citizens’ stories and said that it was “so sweet” to be able to listen to and interact with them.

Steinke said she also loved the end-of-the-night raffle, adding that the same few women kept winning the prizes, much to the amusement of the dinner dance attendees. She said this ended the night on a good note.

Throughout the night, Hoelzl said she received continuous thanks for all of her hard work in putting together such a fun event.

Steinke said that the senior citizens were just “overflowing with gratitude” and that she hopes to turn the dance into an annual event.