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Let's Dance

Baker Scholar reinterprets ‘senior prom’

Each semester, FIT’s Jay and Patty Baker Scholars take part in diverse projects that give something back to the community. They collect baby supplies for underprivileged mothers, participate in cancer walks, help out at local senior centers, and much more. 

This spring semester, all 40 Baker Scholars worked together on a special project. They had a ball. Okay, not a ball, technically, but rather a prom. On March 24, the group recreated a high school senior prom for nearly 200 senior citizens at the Hudson Guild Fulton Center in Chelsea.

The Baker Scholars provided everything necessary to hold an afternoon version of the traditional high school prom—complete with fancy dresses, glittering jewelry, hair styling and makeup, decorations, hors d’oeuvres, a chance to dance the hustle and other old favorites, and even selection of a prom king and queen.

For those who attended, it was great fun. “I love my dress,” said Naomi Lopez, wearing a gold frock and jacket. Yehudit Moch, the Center’s group services manager, described the excitement as palpable. “It’s really touching,” she said. “The seniors are having so much fun and feeling special and honored.”

The prom project was the idea of Baker Scholar Ashly Juskus, Fashion Merchandising Management, who graduated in May.

“I wanted to do one big project with all the Baker Scholars contributing,” said Juskus, who was a Baker Scholar throughout her eight semesters at FIT. “The idea was inspired by my great-grandma. She loved the annual prom held by her senior home in Connecticut, and one of her favorite memories was that she was named prom queen one year.”

The Hudson Guild Fulton Center was a perfect fit for the event, said Juskus. “It serves underprivileged people, it’s in our community, and some of our scholars had helped with their Thanksgiving dinners in the past. They don’t have the resources to have events like this. So we were able to give the seniors something special-—something to remember.”

The Baker Scholarships were established in 2002 for students in FIT’s Jay and Patty Baker School of Business and Technology. They are funded from a $10 million gift that FIT received in 2001 from Jay Baker, retired president of Kohl’s Department Stores, and his wife Patty. Awards are based on financial need, academic achievement, community service, and commitment to a non-smoking lifestyle.

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