2017-05-19 / Front Page

NIGHT FIT FOR A QUEEN

Camarillo High senior invites his grandma to prom
By Alicia Doyle
Special to the Acorn


SECOND CHANCE—Josephine Ganczewski and her grandson Michael Ganczewski attend Adolfo Camarillo High School’s prom on May 13. Michael, 18, decided to bring his 71-year-old grandmother to the dance at The Vineyards in Simi Valley because she hadn’t been able to attend her school’s prom when she was a teenager. By the end of Saturday’s dance, Josephine Ganczewski had been crowned prom queen. 
DIANNE AVERY/Acorn Newspapers SECOND CHANCE—Josephine Ganczewski and her grandson Michael Ganczewski attend Adolfo Camarillo High School’s prom on May 13. Michael, 18, decided to bring his 71-year-old grandmother to the dance at The Vineyards in Simi Valley because she hadn’t been able to attend her school’s prom when she was a teenager. By the end of Saturday’s dance, Josephine Ganczewski had been crowned prom queen. DIANNE AVERY/Acorn Newspapers Beneath strings of white lights in the dimly lit banquet room, the party of promgoers took a break from dancing and the night’s festivities to bestow the time-honored title of prom queen on the lovely lady in the beaded floor-length gown.

The crown was placed atop Josephine Ganczewski as the room erupted in a salvo of cheers and applause.

The moment was made all that much sweeter by the fact that Ganczewski was not only getting a second chance to take part in prom, more than 50 years after she graduated from high school, but that her date was her grandson, Michael Ganczewski.

Adolfo Camarillo High School’s May 13 prom at The Vineyards in Simi Valley was a night Ganczewski, 71—called nana by her 18-year-old grandson— will never forget.

The theme of the evening was “Serendipity.”

“It was the most special night of my life,” said Ganczewski, a Camarillo resident, who said she was unable to attend her own prom because her parents couldn’t afford it.

So when Michael learned his grandma had missed her chance to attend the milestone evening, “he was determined to right a wrong,” said his mom, Angela Ganczewski.

“Ever since my father passed away . . . Michael has taken his nana under his wing to try and be the man in her life that his grandfather would’ve wanted him to be,” she said. “He has always been very close to her, but now that she’s a widow, he’s even more attentive.”

The teen never thought twice about inviting his grandmother to the dinner and dance.

“I wanted her to know how much she means to me,” he said. “There are lots of beautiful girls in this world, but I only have one nana.”

It was a decision that moved Josephine Ganczewski.

“It was the first corsage I have ever gotten,” she said. “I had a bouquet when I got married, but I never got a corsage.”

Michael, a well-liked student, is friends with many in his class.

“He’s very friendly and loving. Everyone just really likes being around him,” said his mom. Josephine Ganczewski said she was overwhelmed by the warm welcome she received from the hundreds of high school seniors who attended the prom.

“I have a whole new respect for this generation. I feel when I leave this earth it will be taken over by some wonderful young people,” she said. “They said, ‘You look so pretty.’ They came to me, shook my hand and hugged me. Everyone was so polite, and I felt so welcomed, I couldn’t believe it.”

Michael said his friends helped make the night special.

“They came up to her and introduced themselves and welcomed her,” he said. “My nana told me afterwards that they made her feel so special.”

He added: “It was a day neither of us will ever forget.”

And if he had to do it all over again, Michael said he wouldn’t have done anything differently.

“It was one of the best decisions of my life thus far,” he said.

As second chances go, Josephine Ganczewski said, it certainly had a storybook ending.

“They crowned me with a beautiful crown. They were all clapping, chanting, ‘Nana! Nana! Nana!’” she said. “They were all so warm and loving. It was the most beautiful night of my life.”

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