Members of the Sandel Senior Center visited South Side High School on April 7 and spent an intimate day with the students during the 39th annual Intergernational Sharing Conference.
The theme of this year’s event was “Disco Fever.” The seniors and students boogied down together on the auditorium stage before sharing a nice catered lunch in the auxiliary gymnasium. Afterwards, everyone participated in the dessert and trivia social.
The high school and Sandel Center each had committees of about 30 people that collaborated monthly to plan the festivities. Guidance counselor Marcy Pedone was the adviser for the students, while Nancy Codispoti, Sandel’s Senior People in Action coordinator, led the seniors.. The South Side group was led by student chairpersons Sarah Baylis and Victoria Coughlin, while Irene Krescanko and Annette Silversmith chaired the seniors.
An additional 50 Sandel members were also invited and paired with a South Side student volunteer for the day. Those people sat together in the audience to watch the show, which was also attended by Rockville Centre Mayor Francis X. Murray and Nassau County Comptroller Counsel Sergio Blanco.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Pedone. “It’s a very well-supported event. That’s why my committee has gone from 11 kids to 30. They beg me to be on it.”
The groups danced together to 14 disco-era songs, including “The Hustle”, “Dancing Queen”, “We Are Family” and “Stayin’ Alive.” All of the mini-groups were into each song music and mimicked disco dancing moves such as arm spinning and diagonal pointing.
That portion of the show was emceed by Krascanko and fellow Sandel member Rita Trenz, who spoke to the audience about being paired with Coughlin at the event a few years earlier.
“I remember Sarah,” she recalled. “We were partners and she was very shy. What happened? Now she’s full of energy.”
Just before lunch, the Sandel Center Stage Chorus performed three songs from famed bandleader and violinist Guy Lombardo, including “You’re Getting To Be A Habit With Me”, “The Nearness of You” and “Enjoy Yourself”, under the direction of Frank Scafuri. The South Side chamber singers and jazz band reciprocated later in the afternoon by performing selections for the seniors.
Sandel member Dottie Calabrese has been attending the event every year since joining the center 17 years ago. Her daughter lives in the village and grandchildren, Sarah and Elizabeth graduated
“It’s just as good as when I started,” said Calabrese. “It’s really a wonderful school. The children are all wonderful. I love to come here.”
Sandel’s Ellie Lustig, who has lived in the village for over 60 years and had two daughters graduate from South Side during the 1970s, immediately hit it off with her partner, South Side senior Shane Batyr.
“We have a lot in common,” said Lustig. “I found out all about his family, and I told him all about mine. It’s nice to get up and meet the kids.”
Batyr, who plans to attend Plymouth State University in New Hampshire next fall, was equally fond of Lustig.
“It’s cool to talk to people who have been in this town for 62 years and learn about the different things that happened here and how much it has changed now,” he said. “It gives me a good positive vibe to know that people that have come here have become successful.”
Batyr can also forsee a time where he is the senior dispensing advice to an eager student at a future intergenerational conference.
“I would like to, yes,” he said.