“We were childhood sweethearts,” said Secaucus senior citizen Lorraine Potente on Tuesday, sitting next to her husband of 47 years, Richard, in the gym at Clarendon Elementary School. “We trust each other, we love each other, and we have a lot of laughs.”
More than 250 seniors gathered for the special Valentine’s Day breakfast at Clarendon. Educators Mary Ann Pollio, Karen Bonin, and Janine Peduto prepared their sixth grade classrooms with family tree and Black History Month projects as well.
Members of the Clarendon Rock Band entertained the seniors by singing pop songs while Clarendon Dance Club members moved to the music on the side.
The Senior Valentine Breakfast is part of a series of events put together by the town’s Social Services.
Mayor Michael Gonnelli and Director of Social Services Lisa Snedeker presented Senior Fitness Instructor Stephanie Sheridan with an award for her work with the seniors. Superintendent Cynthia Randina invited the seniors to continue to visit the school district and spoke to them about the importance of learning how to use email. Congressman Steve Rothman stopped in to wish everyone a happy valentine’s day.
“We trust each other, we love each other, and we have a lot of laughs.” – Lorraine Potente
“To love everyone, not just your partner,” said senior Angela Krieger, when asked about the meaning of Valentine’s Day. She said she enjoyed the breakfast as an opportunity to socialize. She sat at a table with her friends Jennie Pacella and Ann Gallo.
“It means everything,” said Irene Lazicki about Valentine’s Day. “My grandson was born on Valentine’s Day.”
Lazicki was accompanied by Mary Jandrenu, Ines Macchieraldo and Lilian Boita, who all live in the North End and rode the senior bus to the event.
“We like everything in this town. It is the best town,” said Boita.
Delores Viscardo dressed in a bright, neon green top and wore blue-tinted sunglasses. She said she enjoyed being with “lovely, lovely people, all my friends,” and she especially liked Valentine’s Day to be around “sweethearts.”
The kids enjoyed the event as well.
“I have no Valentine, except maybe my mom,” said 11-year-old Gabriel Sanchez with a smile. He performed with the rock band.
Fellow band mate Victor Paone, 11, said he intended to give his Valentine a card and a stuffed bear.
Eleven-year-old Shannon Smith, a sixth grade student, was happy to “help the senior citizens by serving them food and giving them entertainment.”
“We feel proud,” said sixth grader Karina Melendez.
“It’s fun,” said Rachel O’Boyle, 11, about the whole experience of celebrating Valentine’s Day with local seniors.