FLORENCE, S.C. – Twelve dance couples put on their boogie shoes and danced for education and The School Foundation at the Dancing for Our Future Stars competition on Thursday at Florence-Darlington Technical College’s SiMT Building.
Celebrity Yancey Stokes and dancer Erin Hayes received the Mirror Ball Award for technical skill.
“She did it all,” Stokes said. “She taught me all of it, worked me hard, but it paid off. She was a great instructor and kept it fun.”
Celebrity Chris Handley and dancer Brandi Williamson received the Most Entertaining Award. Celebrity Carl Humphries and dancer Meggie Baker received the Social Status Award. Celebrity Rebecca Smith and dancer Tyler Jordan received the People’s Choice Award for earning the most votes during the night. Celebrity Will Malambri and dancer Katelyn Rodgers received second in People’s Choice, and Humphries and Baker received third in People’s Choice.
Debbie Hyler, executive director of The School Foundation, said the event is a collaboration of the community.
“It’s just exciting seeing everybody come in with a big smile on their face and are excited about seeing the person that they’re coming to support,” Hyler said.
Courtney Cribb, a School Foundation board member, said that each seat that the SiMT Building could offer was filled.
“This is a huge event,” Cribb said. “All the tables are sold out before they even reach the public. It’s nice to know that people care enough about the kids and Florence School District One and support them in the way that they do.”
Francis Marion University’s president, Dr. Fred Carter, said he rooted for Humphries. Carter said it’s important that the community supports education.
“It’s a wonderful night that supports the schools, supports a lot of innovative programs for the schools,” Carter said. “The Foundation does a good job in that regard.”
Florence School District One board member Porter Stewart said it’s important for the community to support education.
“It helps us with the cutting edge as far as what we can look at and get into as far as technology and learning techniques in the classroom,” Stewart said. “An event like this is a wonderful opportunity for the community to come out to celebrate education and the community and everything that goes with it. Kudos to The School Foundation.”
Stokes said the self-pep-talks started early in the day.
“The Stokes is stoked,” Stokes said. “I’m ready to go; at least that’s what I’ve been telling myself all day to pump me up for this.”
Smith sported a flashy gold jacket, inspired by Bruno Mars, who performed the song she danced to.
“You know what? I’m just going to keep it simple,” Smith said. “I watched the video numerous time, and I thought it’s a throwback. Bruno’s outfits are loud and obnoxious, and I thought ‘Well, why not?’”
Pat Carnell and Cherry Gerrald represented Pee Dee Kiwanis.
“I watch Dancing with the Stars, and I love it,” Garrald said. “This is for The School Foundation, so it’s a great cause.”
Malambri supporters Faye and Emery Higgs said they come every year because they have personal connections with the students in Florence.
“We have two grandchildren in the public school, and all of our children have gone through
Florence District One schools. We want to do all we can to support The School Foundation,” Faye said.
The other dancers were celebrity David Copeland and dancer Cheyanne Beck; celebrity Barnette Greenberg and dancer Meghan Burgess; celebrity Andrew Imbeau and dancer Hannah Yarborough; celebrity Ashleigh McIntyre and dancer Cole Davis; celebrity Chad Patterson and dancer Morgan Schoolfield; celebrity Dr. Christy Prose and dancer Chris Mixon; and celebrity J. Lawrence Smith and dancer Georgeanna Kelley.
The School Foundation is the largest private endowment for grades K through 12 in South Carolina. Since is began in 2002, it has donated $1.2 million to Florence School District One schools.