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Annual Senior Citizens Holiday Celebration at NOVA-Manassas

“Men in Song” directed by Janet Lunsford entertained the audienceat the 20th annual Senior Citizens Holiday Celebration hosted by theManassas Campus of Northern Virginia Community College.

An enthusiastic crowd of more than 150 people enjoyed the 20th annual Senior Citizens Holiday Celebration on Dec. 1 at the Manassas Campus of Northern Virginia Community College.

The event began with student Mariya “Masha” Podeyko introducing NBC-4 meteorologist Chuck Bell who served as master of ceremonies. Bell quickly set the tone for a fun afternoon by predicting a “sunny good time” for everyone.

Committee chairwoman Patricia Knight Gary welcomed the seniors and thanked them for getting the holiday season off to a merry start. Gary has been the driving force behind the event for two decades. Interim Provost Christine Holt shared greetings from the College and wished everyone happy holidays.

Kellie Blair Hardt, one of the students who organized the inaugural luncheon 20 years ago, talked about how the first celebration with less than 10 attendees has grown into such a popular, large event. After NOVA, Hardt went on to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees and is currently a science teacher for Manassas City Public Schools.

The audience was treated to a joyous rendition of “Winter Wonderland” by NOVA’s own Kathy Russell accompanied by Thomas Scurlock on the piano. More musical entertainment followed with “Men in Song” under the direction of Janet Lunsford. The all-male group sang several holiday tunes and encouraged everyone to join in.

After lunch, Bell and Santa, assisted by a host of elves (otherwise known as students, faculty and staff), distributed numerous gifts to all the “boys and girls.” In addition to taking home poinsettias and other great door prizes, every guest received a specially designed NOVA blanket.

“The luncheon gives our faculty, staff and students the opportunity to spread holiday cheer to some deserving people in the community,” Gary said. “A heartfelt thanks to our faculty and staff at the Manassas Campus. It is a joy to work with such caring and giving people who continue to give their time and donations each year. We also appreciate the support from the community. This event wouldn’t be possible without contributions from our local businesses.”

Special thanks to Caton Merchant House of the Prince William Health System for providing shuttle service between the parking lot and the building, and to the following businesses for making contributions: Acumen Solutions (Luke McKenney), Acumen Solutions (Zalanda Marshall), Chick-fil-A Manassas, Hard Times Café Manassas, Home Instead Senior Care, Joe’s Subs and Pizza (Bassam Eways), Joe’s Subs and Pizza (Ferris Eways), Knight Investment LLC, Steve Leonard, Lifelong Learning Institute Manassas, Mancessory (Torian Robinson), News & Messenger, NVCC Workforce Development Office, Prospero’s Books, Sir William Seasoning (John-Patrick Gary) and Uno’s Chicago Grill Manassas.

Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through the Extended Learning Institute. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.