By Josetta Stutts
Mass comm student Jerrica Culpepper interviews Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. at the Valentine’s Day gala. (Photo by Tamron Tobias)
Jackson State University mass communications students volunteered at a Valentine’s Day gala Feb. 14 held for members of the Tougaloo and T.L. Love senior citizens centers in Jackson.
“We started this event because Valentine’s Day is a special day, and there’s nobody more special than these seniors,” said Lynda Nolden, coordinator at the Tougaloo Multi-Purpose Senior Citizens Center. “A lot of people have donated their time and that makes me feel so good.”
Students in clinical assistant professor Riva Brown Teague’s Introduction to News Reporting, Practicum and Internship classes served food and drinks, conducted interviews, and shot photos and videos during the event.
“These seniors have a lot of wisdom and knowledge, and you can learn from them,” said Gloria Johnson, coordinator at the T.L. Love Community Center. “You don’t always get all your knowledge out of a book.”
The gala is in its third year. Tables were draped in red tablecloths and animal print. Seniors wore red to compliment the “Jungle Love” theme.
The senior citizens and mass comm students were not the only ones attending the gala. Some elected officials and political candidates, including Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. and Jackson city councilmen Frank Bluntson and Chokwe Lumumba, also attended the event. The students got a chance to practice their interviewing skills on them.
Jackson State students also escorted the seniors inside the gala after the seniors arrived at The Room in limousines. The students also hit the dance floor with the senior citizens, grooving to “The Cupid Shuffle” and other popular dances.
Smiling faces lit up the room as much as the red decor.
“The highlight of my evening was the music and the dance,” said Clementine Mongur, a member of the Tougaloo center.
“It is a positive event for the seniors because it gets the seniors out,” said Tahirah Richardson, food coordinator. “It lets the people know that age shouldn’t be a factor to have a good time.”
Jerrica Culpepper and Latoya Carey contributed to this story.