Words: Ashley Berry
The Howard County Public School System Educational Foundation, Bright Minds, hosted their first ever Strutting with the Staff on Saturday, March 21 at Glenelg High School. This fundraiser raised money to benefit the Bright Minds Foundation and the Students of the Howard County Public Schools.
Strutting with the Staff was a dance competition for all staff and teachers of HCPSS. Teams of dancers competed for votes from people in the community as well as a selected panel of judges: County Executive Allan Kittleman, Becky Funk from Monster’s Dance and Coleen West from the Howard County Arts Council.
The Centennial High School team started to practice in January. Theo Brown and Rebecca Clark, two teachers at Centennial, choreographed the dance and taught it the other 13 members: Mrs. Hafets, Mr. Dorsey, Mrs. Helmrath, Mrs. Barnes, Mrs Fleegal, Mr. Matchim, Mr. Barrett, Miss Hammers, Mrs. Reynolds, Ms. Fisher, Ms. Carlsen, Mrs. Beall, and Ms. McKechnie.
There were 3 different categories of winners: most money raised, most entertaining and judge’s choice. After all their hard work, the Centennial team took home first place for all 3 categories and was named the grand champion.
Many of the staff members on the team had some experience with dance or performing. Barrett and Brown did Step for their fraternity, Hammers was on the dance team when she was a student at Centennial, Fisher has experience in Irish Dancing and Reynolds participated in Centennial’s show, Dancing with the Staff, last year. Also, Carlsen and Matchim are Centennial’s theatre teacher and band director.
On the other hand, there were members of the team, such as McKechnie, who were not dancers and did not have any experience. She said, “The dance was difficult for me to learn because I have not done this kind of thing before. I also wanted to make sure I got it right so I didn’t let the team down!”
“We had some very talented dancers on the team, but as far as our success goes, I think that ultimately it was the patience, dedication and expertise of Mrs. Clark. She had the vision to put everything together and gave us great instruction and encouragement,” said McKechnie. “We had so much fun! It wasn’t everything, but winning was great and I would definitely do this again!”