They came. They saw. And hopefully they'll dance.

Potential "stars" attended the kickoff Tuesday for the seventh annual Dancing Stars of Wayne County event.

Modeled after the popular TV show "Dancing With the Stars," the annual fundraiser benefits educational efforts in the community.

Among the programs supported through the Chamber of Commerce venture, Wayne Education Network, are teacher scholarships and stipends, mini grants, middle school career fair, teacher job fair and the Golden Rule incentive program for educators.

WEN is a countywide initiative created to improve the quality of life and economic prosperity in Goldsboro and Wayne County, said Kate Daniels, executive director of the chamber.

To date, she said, in the area of teacher mini grants alone, some $129,000 in funding has been distributed to public and private school educators.

The local event pairs residents with students from five local dance studios -- Academy of Performing Arts, A Step of Class, Desiree Autrey's Academy of Performing Arts, Goldsboro School of Ballet and Studio 33 Dance Company.

This year's show will take place Friday, Nov. 3, at the Paramount Theatre.

Riley Wilkins, magistrate judge and Realtor, showed up to find out more about what it entailed.

"I think it's for a good cause," he said.

Several Wayne County Public Schools, or WCPS, employees have expressed interest this year.

Lester Boltinhouse, coach and physical education teacher at Spring Creek High School, said he was "voluntold" to participate.

"I'm looking forward to it," he admitted. "I'll give it my best shot."

His wife, Beverly Boltinhouse, career and technical education director with Wayne County Public Schools, said when her boss, the schools superintendent, urged her to take part, she had considered the excuse, "I'll do it if my husband does it," but that obviously didn't work since he had also been roped in.

Since part of her job is encouraging teachers to seek grants, though, she decided to take her own advice and give it a go.

Katrina Reynolds, WCPS district supervisor in the transportation department, is also a Zumba instructor at the YMCA, she said.

"When I was asked to do this, I jumped right in, especially because of the cause -- education," she said.

Dr. William Vann, principal of Wayne Middle High Academy, could hardly contain his enthusiasm.

"I'm super excited," he told the group. "When I got the call and was asked, I said yes without even thinking about it.

"Yes, it's a good cause, and I have been taught to say yes to anything that's good. And maybe I should have thought about it before, but my excitement has not lessened."

Lori Herring is district sales manager for AFLAC.

But she is also a mother.

"I wanted to do this because I have two daughters who have danced since they were itty bitty," she said. "I just wanted to show them that Mama could do it, too."

Amie Garmendia, medical assistant, Southern Medical Oncology Center, had a similar motivation.

"I push them (my daughters) to get on stage when they're uncomfortable," she said.

"I'm going to lead by example."

Kelly Helms, sales manager with Brookdale Berkeley Boulevard, said one reason for her interest was that her mother had been a teacher for 36 years.

"I just love to dance. I love to fundraise," she said.

Organizers are continuing to recruit for the upcoming program, with a goal of 20 participants, said Lara Landers, director of marketing and events for the Chamber.

Even if they don't have children or a direct connection to schools, she said.

"Education affects everybody in Wayne County, and this is what you're doing it for," she said.