Dancing with Stars contestants ready to hit ballroom floor
By John Joyce
Published in News on November 30, 2012 1:46 PM
The participants and organizers of this year's Dancing with the Wayne County Stars meet at the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce. The event, which benefits various Wayne Education Network projects, will be held at the Paramount Theatre April 19.
The Wayne County Chamber of Commerce and Wayne Education Network's third annual Dancing Stars of Wayne County competition is set to begin preparations for the April 19 show at the Paramount Theatre.
This year, 15 contestants and five local dance studios will participate in a group dance competition.
Proceeds from ticket sales and voting will benefit programs and charities supported by both the chamber and the network.
The contestants are all members of the community, including business leaders, city government officials, teachers and doctors.
These local celebrities will be divided up among the five dance studios and train with professional dancers to deliver choreographed routines at the spring show.
Joshua McCullen, owner of Jersey Mike's and one of the contestants, said he was more excited than apprehensive about getting on stage and strutting his stuff for a good cause.
"I'd be lying if I said I didn't think my chances were pretty good. I have a pretty competitive spirit," he said.
Some changes to the competition this year include switching from a partnered dance competition with judges to a group dynamic with commentators.
Lara Landers, the Chamber of Commerce director of marketing and events, said the change would take some of the pressure off.
The contestants will instead be the "faces" of their respective groups, Ms. Landers said.
Several corporate sponsorships have already been sold and still more are available for purchase. Voters will be able to log on to WEN.org to cast their votes at $10 apiece for the contestant of their choice.
The contestant with the most votes will win the competition, and the dance studio with the most votes and the winning contestant will win the "Battle of the Studios."
Both the winning contestant and the winning studio will be awarded a trophy and prize money.
While the focus remains on the fundraising for programs to benefit educators and students in Wayne County, some of the contestants are naturally concerned with their own image.
City Manager Scott Stevens, who initially seemed concerned with the time constraints and high demands the weekly training sessions might impose, let down his guard for a moment at the Chamber's luncheon Wednesday, where the contestants gathered for their first introduction.
"After being part of this community for a year now, I know that whatever goes on (on stage) will be remembered for a long time," Stevens said.
Practice sessions will begin in January.
Some of the programs supported by the Wayne Education Network include scholarships, a seventh-grade career fair, incentives for new teachers and their recruitment and retention, and the Junior Leadership Program, which is a group of 21 high school juniors who meet monthly for leadership training.
* Carol Bowden, Curtis Media
* Matilda Faircloth, Re/Max
* Richard Gower, manager, Zaxby's
* Dr. Shane Hoover, Goldsboro Pediatrics
* Charlie Ivey, executive director, Partnership for Children
* Terry Light, assistant district attorney
* L.J. Manley, Mt. Olive Pickle Co.
* Joshua McCullen, owner, Jersey Mike's
* Dr. Earl Moore, principal, Charles B. Aycock High School
* Phyllis Moore, reporter, Goldsboro News-Argus
* Greg Ricker, Strickland Insurance
* Susan Spengler, Mathnasium
* Scott Stevens, Goldsboro city manager
* Howard Whitfield, Wayne Memorial Hospital
* Peggy Van Voltenburg, Mt. Olive Pickle Co.