Dancers named for annual fundraiser
By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on August 26, 2014 1:46 PM
Potential and confirmed participants and dance studios affiliated with the fourth annual Dancing Stars of Wayne County fundraiser for education met last week to kick off the upcoming event, planned for Oct. 17 at the Paramount Theatre.
Fifteen people and five dance studios have signed on for the fourth annual Dancing Stars of Wayne County fundraiser for education, planned for Oct. 17 at the Paramount Theatre.
A kick-off meeting to introduce the participants was held Wednesday at the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce. Wayne Education Network, or WEN, sponsors the event, which benefits such education programs as teacher mini grants and scholarships, middle school career fair and teacher stipends to support teacher assistants while they complete their education.
To date, WEN has distributed over $119,000 in grants and $30,725 for teacher stipends.
With just eight weeks before the Dancing Stars event, it promises to be a "fun experience," said Lara Landers, director of marketing and events for the chamber.
Online voting will start September 1 and posters advertising the event will be going up all over the county, with participants attempting to raise the most money and be declared the "winner" of the event. There are also three other awards presented by the judges, Ms. Landers said -- best presentation, most technical and the judges award.
Area dance studios are also pitted against each other in the competition, while working to ready the participants for the big night.
Brandi Strickland of Strickland Insurance was already getting excited about what's to come.
"I could not wait to do this because the stage is my home," she said.
Dan Ellis, chief financial officer of Southern Bank in Mount Olive, mused about what his dance style might be.
"It just so happens that every Friday I do a dance around the office," he said, later correcting himself and suggesting he wouldn't mind doing a clog dance. "But I will do whatever you want me to do."
Dr. Paul Rutter, director of the evening division at University of Mount Olive, was not as easily convinced.
So Ellis, who knew Rutter from having served on a board with him, stepped in.
"If I'm doing it, you're doing it," he said with a laugh.
Most agreed that the cause was the best incentive for stepping out of their comfort zones.
"I think education is such an important part of the community and the future, so anything I can do (I will)," Ms. Strickland said.
Sheila Wolfe, principal of Fremont STARS Elementary School, said one reason she agreed to participate was because both Fremont and Tommy's Road Elementary, where she formerly taught, have been the beneficiaries of the teacher mini grants and this provides an opportunity to give back to the community.
Participating dance studios from the area include Center Stage Theatre, A Step of Class Dance Studio, Artistic Dance Academy, Mrs. Robins Academy of Dance and Goldsboro School of Ballet.
In addition to Ellis, Ms. Strickland, Rutter and Mrs. Wolfe, this year's line-up of dancers includes Nicole Barnes, owner of Allta Foods; Selena Bennett, executive director of Communities in Schools; Eric Bourgeois of Goldsboro Physical Therapy; Felicia Brown, recreation superintendent at Parks & Recreation; Kate Daniels, president of Wayne County Chamber of Commerce; Sonja Emerson, principal at Dillard Middle School; Dr. Shane Hoover, a pediatrician at Goldsboro Pediatrics; Kirk Keller, engineering instructor at Wayne Community College; George Lanier of Re/Max Complete; Leigh Tanner, science teacher at Wayne Country Day School; and Beverly Wiggins, small business specialist at BB&T.