Centenarian named Prom Queen as Senior Appreciation Month winds down in southeast Queens

Senior Appreciation Month
Assemblyman Clyde Vanel, Councilwoman Linda Lee, Senator Comrie, and Emma Kenne celebrate Senior Appreciation Month. (Photo courtesy of Comrie’s office)

With the 20th annual Senior Appreciation Month winding down in southeast Queens, state Senator Leroy Comrie welcomed more than 300 guests to Antun’s catering and events venue in Queens Village on Sept. 30 to crown 103-year-old Emma Kenner and 97-year-old Edward Facey as Prom Queen and King.

“Congratulations to Prom Queen Emma Kenner and Prom King Edward Facey,” Comrie said. “Our Senior Prom is especially important because for some seniors, this is their first prom. Many seniors in our communities may not have had the opportunity to attend a prom; that may have been because they were working at an early age or because they were discriminated against due to their race, religion or ethnicity. Our Senior Prom plays a part in community building, in celebrating older adults and the contributions they make to our shared community.”

The calendar of events for Senior Appreciation Month 2022 included events at Gracie Mansion, mini-golf, jazz concerts, senior line dancing, a tour of Queens Botanical Garden, resource fairs, virtual workshops, a limited number of free tickets to two NY Mets games, and a vigil in memory of those lost to COVID and honoring essential workers.

State Senator Leroy Comrie presents 103-year-old Emma Kenner and 97-year-old Edwards Facey as Prom Queen and King as Senior Appreciation Month in southeast Queens draws to a close. (Photos courtesy of Comrie’s office)

The monthlong celebration kicked off at Roys Wilkins Gymnasium on Sept. 2 with Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman looking back at the origins of the event.

“I am proud to know that what was initiated originally as a weeklong event in 2002 is now a much deserved and fitting opportunity for us to celebrate those who endured the obstacles of life before us,” Hyndman said. “Let us continue to attend to them as they took their time to nurture us.”

Senior Appreciation Month events were put together through a collaboration of elected officials at multiple levels of government in Queens.

“Our senior citizens have paved the way for generations of community members and leaders,” said Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz. “They deserve the very best our neighborhoods have to offer.”

In past years, events have included senior proms, nature hikes, game nights, informational luncheons, fashion shows, bowling, town halls, musical celebrations and more. During the most challenging periods in the pandemic, Senior Appreciation Month shifted to virtual events; 2022 marked the first year where most events were in-person and included a limited number of virtual events.

“Seniors have contributed so much wisdom to our societies, but we genuinely do not appreciate them enough for all they have given,” Assemblyman David Weprin said. “Our senior citizens are important to our community and I will continue to fight for their welfare and honor them for their contribution to society.”