March 27, 2017
On March 22, tap shoes were shined, makeup was applied, and lights and sound were adjusted in preparation for emcee Dick Story to take the stage for the Bright Minds Foundation’s annual fundraising extravaganza, Strutting With the Staff.
The annual event, in its third year, took place at Wilde Lake High School’s Jim Rouse Theater to raise money for the Bright Minds Foundation. Atholton’s team, which tied with Oakland Mills for third place, included the principal, Mrs. Hutchens, Mr. Scible, Ms. Bonomo-Thomas, Mrs. Carr-Spence, Mrs. Dalton, Mr. Decker, Mrs. DeFrances, Mrs. Dix, Mrs. Haffey, Mrs. Lindsey, Mrs. Lucente, and Mrs. Meledick.
“Ms. Haffey, you know, really is the brain[s] behind it,” said Mrs. Lucente, one of the participants. “She’s the one who came up with the idea and the choreography and the music and all of the sets and costumes and everything together and, so, I think she’s really outdone herself this year in terms of creativity.”
The Bright Minds Foundation is a local organization that is known for giving grants to HCPSS schools, including the “Play It Forward” grant at AHS, which granted the orchestra the ability to perform brand-new music by an up-and-coming composer. The foundation also paid for new Chromebooks for Long Reach High School and Hammond High School.
The event featured 11 high schools in a dance-off, and from Homewood’s winning dance and rap medley to Wilde Lake’s showstopping number from the musical “Newsies,” all schools performed equally well.
“I wanted to get up there and dance with them,” said Carolyn Keleman, one of the judges, of Wilde Lake’s number, which took second.
Atholton also received huge praise from Keleman, who said she “smiled the whole time.” Another one of the judges, Dr. Norbert Myslinski, provided more technical praise, saying that the Atholton crew “remembered every move.”
The judges, which also included Social Security Administration executive Fritz Streckewald and Offit Kurman Attorneys principal Linda Ostovitz, aren’t the only ones who praised the dancers. Mrs. Haffey, who has run the Atholton team since the event’s inception, says, “I enjoy working with staff members, whether they have dance experience or not.”
Atholton’s routine, second in the competition, consisted of a TV themes medley, with Mrs. Hutchens and Mr. Scible sitting in front of a TV screen while the dancers took the audience through television history. The medley featured I Love Lucy from the ‘50s, The Jeffersons from the ‘70s (which featured a ten-second cameo from math teacher Mrs. Carr-Spence), and Friends from the ‘90s. It also highlighted art teacher Mr. Decker as Fred Flintstone and Gilligan from Gilligan’s Island. The whole set was introduced by a training video set to the theme of Cheers, echoing several other intro training videos of the night, which provided an extra bit of entertainment.
This is the third year of the event, and Atholton has participated every year, but has never placed before. This was Homewood’s first win; Centennial High School took home the award last year.
The event will continue, and will hopefully get even better next year. But whatever happens, the Atholton team says it doesn’t matter as long as they have fun.
Perhaps Mrs. Haffey summed it up best: “We have a good time in the studio. Definitely an equal amount of dancing and laughing going on every time.”