The Saturday closest to Valentine's Day has had a special meaning for the residents of Pinecrest for the past several years, as it has been the day when Confirmation students from St. Marys Area High School and Elk County Catholic High School have held their annual Valentine's Day Ball at the facility.
This year's event was held Saturday afternoon from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. and was attended by over 60 residents of the facility. Around 40 Confirmation students from both high schools assisted with the event.
Confirmation Facilitator Kathy Reuscher remarked that this year may have been the best turnout ever in terms of the number of students participating with the event. Students are required to complete 12 hours of community service in order to be confirmed, though participation in any particular event is not mandatory.
"I like having a good time with the older people at Pinecrest. I know they always really enjoy it. My grandma's here and she always enjoys it and tells me how much fun she always has," said Maddie O'Leary, a junior at Elk County Catholic, regarding her decision to take part in the event.
Melinda Stebich, a junior at St. Marys Area, explained that she decided to participate in the event not only as a way to get service hours, but also because it sounded like it would be fun. She added that helping with the annual Valentine's Day Ball would be something she would encourage up-and-coming Confirmation students to consider.
Steve Wingard, a junior at Elk County Catholic, remarked that he decided to participate because he knew the event made the Pinecrest residents happy.
"I think they enjoyed it, hopefully," Wingard said following the event.
Christopher Dollinger, a junior at St. Marys Area, indicated that he chose to be involved with the event to earn service hours, have a good time, and to do something good for the residents of Pinecrest. He also said that he would recommend that future Confirmation classes continue to be involved with the event.
"The residents seem to enjoy it and it's a worthwhile experience," Dollinger said.
In addition to dancing and socializing with residents during the hour-long event, students also served them a drink and snack and escorted them to and from their rooms.