Many teachers in the Danville school system will be able to apply for and acquire mini grants this year, after Saturday’s Dancing with the Danville Stars, which raised around $10,481 in donations for the Danville Schools Education Foundation, about $7,900 of which returns directly to the schools. A portion of the money was raised before the event, with the remainder being earned that night.
“The entire evening was absolutely enjoyed by everyone,” Kathy Belcher, chairwoman of the events committee for the Education Foundation, said. She estimates moret than 300 people attended the event.
“It was one of the most fun events that I think I’ve ever gotten to be a part of,” Superintendent Carmen Coleman said. She and husband Scott were two of the dancers.
“It was so much bigger and better than any of us even thought possible,” Coleman added.
The winners of the event, with the most money raised by the duo at their school and during the show, was team “Cool Cats,” consisting of Principal Gina Bernard and physical education teacher Brent Beauman of Jennie Rogers Elementary School. In an interview before the event, Bernard was confident the two would win because “everyone loves Mr. Beauman.”
“It was amazing,” Bernard said.
By grabbing the win, the two also earned the school $1,000, which will be put toward buying new projectors in the classrooms.
“It was a combination effort,” Bernard said, adding the staff paid to wear blue jeans and the students were bringing in money constantly for the cause. The duo dressed up and stood out by the road, collecting change from those driving by. Not counting the prize money, the duo raised $2,484.96 from the school, online votes and the night of the event.
“People were cleaning out the change containers in their cars,” Bernard said.
According to Belcher, all the schools found creative ways to fundraise, from Robin Moler of Bate Middle School, who stood outside with a sign saying “Dancing for Money,” to Toliver Principle Judy Spellacy, who allowed students to bring money in exchange for a uniform-free day on picture day. She emphasized the schools had a “friendly competition.”
For teams without schools, such as Coleman and her husband, and community members James and Artie Atkins, it was a bit more difficult to fundraise. “I was campaigning all over the United States,” Coleman said. She emailed friends and family across the country in hopes of raising more money, and says she is amazed at how generous people were.
“It was remarkable,” she said.¿The effort from those who donated time and money was phenomenal, according to Coleman.
“So many people went so far above and beyond to make this happen. It was really appreciated. It says something about how they feel about our community and our kids,” she said.
Belcher echoes those sentiments with a long list of those who helped out. She says the DSEF definitely will have the event again next year, perhaps in October or November. She believes the DSEF has found the annual fundraising event they have been searching for.
“DSEF is hoping more couples and businesses from the community will be willing to support our annual DWTDS by being a sponsor or even willing to ‘dance’ in the competition,” Belcher said.
She encouraged those interested to seek out more information by logging in to www.danville.kyschools.us/educationfoundation.