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A decade to remember

Tenth anniversary celebration sets sail at Highland Springs

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December 15th, 2016
From left: Judy Brittain,  pioneer residents Pete and Marie Higa, Executive Director Matt Neville, and Shirley Crawford celebrate the community’s tenth anniversary at the Ports of Call dinner.

From left: Judy Brittain, pioneer residents Pete and Marie Higa, Executive Director Matt Neville, and Shirley Crawford celebrate the community’s tenth anniversary at the Ports of Call dinner.

Highland Springs recently celebrated its tenth anniversary with a three-day event nine months in the planning.

“When we sat down at our first meeting in January, there wasn’t much debate about the theme of the celebration,” says Director of Resident Life Lana VanGiesen, who chaired the planning committee. “Our residents tell us over and over again that Highland Springs is like a dry-docked cruise ship. We knew we wanted to plan a cruise-themed celebration.”

The Highland Springs’ Celebration Cruise set sail on Thursday, September 15, with a dinner honoring pioneer residents and staff, those who have lived and worked at the community since it first opened in 2006. 

Currently, 102 of Highland Springs’ 850 residents are pioneers. They took a leap of faith and reserved their apartments sight unseen in Crestview Terrace, the community’s first residence building.

“That was by far the most expensive thing I’ve ever bought without seeing it, touching it, or driving it,” says Jake Jacobsen, who moved to Highland Springs from Florida with his wife Marilyn. “Ten years later, I can say without hesitation that we made the right choice.”

Wined and dined aboard S.S. Highland Springs

The following morning, staff donned their aprons to serve residents a pancake breakfast in the newly renovated Fireside Grille.

Later on Friday, residents and staff gathered in the Hillcrest lobby to await the arrival of the cake, a three-dimensional cruise ship custom made by Frosted Art Bakery & Studio in Dallas.

The cake was the showstopper at that evening’s captain’s dinner, hosted by Highland Springs Executive Director Matt Neville.

Residents dined on beef Wellington with fois gras and black truffle sauce accompanied by duchess potatoes, carrot soufflé, and roasted brussels sprouts.

Ahead of the ceremonial cake cutting, Neville raised his glass with Highland Springs’ first residents Shirley Crawford, and Pete and Marie Higa in a toast to the community.

“This is a great celebration of our residents and staff,” said Neville. “I’m proud of the team that brought together this three-day event. The great food and entertainment are a testament to Highland Springs’ active lifestyle.”

Dallas-area musicians treated everyone to live music. Harpist Lorenzo Gonzales played during the meal while pianist Scott Ayers entertained partygoers after dinner with a selection of show tunes.

All-day entertainment on the Lido deck

The final day of the celebration cruise kicked off with trivia and games on the Lido deck, also known as Chisholm’s living room. 

Residents moved over to the community room in the Willow Ridge residence building for a casino experience featuring blackjack tables, craps, and roulette.

Late afternoon brought more entertainment on the Lido deck with a Hawaiian stage show where residents, adorned in leis, learned to hula.

The final evening of the celebration cruise celebrated ports of call around the world as residents enjoyed food from Greece, Italy, France, and the Caribbean.

“This celebration wouldn’t have been possible without the 17 residents and staff from our planning committee who worked tirelessly to make these events happen,” says VanGiesen. “It’s been a wonderful three days.”

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