BEVERLY - Attending the Senior Citizen Party at Fort Frye High School Wednesday, Ruth Warren was back in familiar territory.
Warren, 95, a resident of Glenwood Retirement Community, taught English, Latin and physical education for girls at the high school when it was formed by the consolidation of Beverly and Lowell high schools in the late 1950s.
Warren was among about 80 Washington County senior citizens to attend the annual luncheon put on by students in the FCCLA (Family, Community and Career Leaders of America) group at the school.
"I like the fact that everybody is so friendly," Warren said of the event, which included musical entertainment by students, prizes and the crowning of a spring king and queen.
But the biggest appeal for many of those in attendance was simply the fellowship with other seniors and Fort Frye students.
"I like to meet people," said Beverly resident Garry McIntyre, 61, who attended with his wife and mother.
"I wanted to come get something different to eat and get together with lots of different people," said Gladys Graham, 86, a resident of Appletree Assisted Living in Barlow.
FCCLA adviser Jane Lennox said the annual celebration is a service project for the group and a way to give back to the community.
About 40 students in FCCLA worked to put the luncheon together, gathering prizes, making food and setting up the school's gymnasium. They also helped those in attendance get their food, refilled drinks and spent time talking with their guests.
"It's fun seeing the senior citizens and helping them out," said FCCLA member Caitlyn Markley, a sophomore. "I enjoy being around people."
A shoulder rub Markley gave one of the attendees generated good word of mouth and she found herself offering another impromptu massage to 84-year-old Lowell resident Glen Matthews.
"She (did) a good job," laughed Matthews, who was attending the luncheon for the first time.
Also attending for the first time was Steubenville resident Dixie Bahen, 88. Her son, Dennis, is the athletic director and a teacher at Fort Frye.
"I think this is wonderful," Dixie Bahen said.
It wasn't all hard work for the students, many of whom said they liked interacting with the seniors they were serving.
The look of the event was a little different this year. Previously, the party was staged during February, with a Valentine's Day theme.
After years of weather-related delays, and a cancellation in 2010, Lennox said the date was pushed back to March.
Red decorations gave way to green and a St. Patrick's Day theme.
"The weather has just always been against us," she said.