Memorial Junior High hosts record attendance at Senior Brunch

by Melanie Jongsma

LANSING, Ill. (May 10, 2019) – Seven years ago, when Memorial Junior High School first invited Lansing seniors to the school gym for breakfast, an estimated 50 or 60 seniors attended. This year at the May 9 brunch, 82 RSVPed and at least 130 attended. School principal Dr. Keli Ross was pleased with the growth, though she’s not sure what will happen if attendance exceeds the capacity of the gym.

For the past several years, Memorial’s Student Council has been responsible for the brunch. Student Council President Serenity Seals served as Master of Ceremonies, and other Council members greeted guests, found seating for them, offered a selection of beverages, answered questions, helped serve the buffet-style brunch, and cleared dishes throughout the two-hour event.

Student Council President Serenity Seals served as Master of Ceremonies. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
From left: Students Dulce Gonzalez, Ryleigh Lafferty, and Isis Rogers greeted guests at the gym door. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

A way to say thanks

The Senior Brunch is a way for staff and students at Memorial Junior High School to thank the Lansing community for support throughout the year. Superintendent Nathan Schilling, who started his tenure with District 158 just last July, told the crowd, “I was incredibly impressed by the turnout and support of our senior community for Memorial Junior High School. This is a great school district.”

And when Principal Ross took the stand, she affirmed, “It’s very important to us that we take time to thank you, our loyal Lansing residents, for your knowledge and contributions to our academic community. We want our students to recognize and appreciate the wisdom and effort that seniors in our community have provided to shape the world around us.”

Mayor Patty Eidam was a guest at the brunch, and she took the opportunity to let attendees know about a new Mayor’s Senior Committee she is in the process of forming. “That committee is pretty much gonna go in the direction that our seniors want it to go,” Eidam explained, and she invited people to contact her office if they are interested in serving.

Brunch and a show

Seniors, including Village Trustee Mike Fish (striped shirt), lined up to partake of the brunch buffet. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

The brunch was catered by Jimboo’s, and seniors enjoyed bagels, muffins, eggs, sausage, bacon, fruit, french toast, coffee, and juice while Memorial’s Jazz Ensemble provided background music. Their performance of “Just a Little Cha Cha,” by Victor Lopez, included solos by Aaron Major on trumpet, Brianna Hill on saxophone, and Qayla McGahee on trumpet. The Jazz Ensemble is directed by Mathew Becker:

The Memorial Junior High School Concert Choir also performed as the seniors finished their meal. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

Following the musical performances, guests learned about the STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) class from teacher Jeff Thompson. And African American history came alive through student portrayals of leaders past and present.

The after-lunch presentation also included a preview of the spring musical, Suessical Jr.:

The 2019 Senior Brunch ended with a video titled “What is a Mustang?,” which was created as part of an extra-curricular class at Memorial. And Annika Beigel of the Kids of Character Club described the positive things the club is doing in school and in the community.

Guests were given a gift made by the Kids of Character Club. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

“We hope you’ve enjoyed yourselves today,” said Beigel in closing the Seniors Brunch. “We wish you the best on your continued adventure at home.”

Memorial Junior High School is located at 2721 Ridge Road in Lansing, Illinois.

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