Why should the older kids have all the fun?
While the high school kids enjoy their homecoming dances and prom night every fall and spring, the younger kids at Wayne Elementary have a dance night all to their own – and their dates happen to be their moms and dads.
Last Friday, the Wayne Elementary Boosters (WEB) held their third-annual Holiday Daughter Dance at the Wayne Elementary gymnasium. With a theme of “Under The Sea,” dads and daughters enjoyed a night out with plenty of good music, tasty treats and a chance to win everything from extra recess time to Nebraska football tickets.
Sandy Brown, WEB president, said the idea for the dance came after her husband had mentioned seeing pictures on Facebook of some his friends at a school dance with their daughters.
“He said he’d do something like that and I said ‘Really? Well let’s get this done,’” she said.
Now in its third year, fathers and daughters have their dance between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, while mothers and sons enjoy their dance around Valentine’s Day.
Planning for the dance’s themes happens over the summer, Brown said, and about a dozen volunteers do a lot of the major work for the dances during October and November.
“We go out in the community in November and get donations for the silent auction and the raffle, then in December we’ll go out and thank them and tell them how we did,” she said.
And, this just in – they did very well.
This year’s father-daughter dance raised over $4,900 to support activities, students, families and staff at the school. The dance had its best turnout ever with almost 300 tickets sold for the dance, and more than 90 donations for the silent auction were received by businesses, organizations, parents and teachers. More than 40 parents also helped out with food donations or helping out with the event.
Fathers and daughters dress up for the dance, and after they register at the entrance, they get their photo taken in a special photo booth set up by Angie Rethwisch, who uses a backdrop tied to the dance’s theme.
Music is provided by Thom and Julie Osnes of PinMonkey Entertainment, there are desserts and a special “sea water punch,” and one of the big hits of the event – at least, for the kids – is a chocolate fountain that is sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.
“It’s something that’s really special for the kids,” Brown said. “They love to dip strawberries and brownies and Oreos. It’s a lovely mess, and it’s delicious.”
About a dozen lunchroom tables are set up in the gymnasium to showcase the silent auction items, and there’s a unique selection of items that go up for bid. Gift certificates, games, toys and Wayne State sports tickets are up for bid, as well as some fun items put together by school staff.
“The fifth grade teachers put together a fun movie basket with DVD’s and popcorn and tickets to the Majestic Theatre,” Brown said. “Mr. Plager (elementary principal Russ Plager) had Blizzards and an UNO party for you and two friends on the silent auction, and Mr. Hight (assistant principal Tucker Hight) had extra recess for you and five friends. Those were some priceless auction items that made it fun for the kids.”
Two front-row, 50-yard line tickets to next year’s Nebraska vs. Ohio State football game were raffled off, courtesy of Kaki and Dave Ley, and a lucky sixth-grade girl won the tickets. Brown said two sets of Nebraska basketball tickets donated by Courtney Maas’ parents, Steve and Cindy Flaherty, will be raffled off at the Mother/Son dance in February.
Some of the daughters at the dance brought an uncle, grandpa or older brother at their date, which Brown said was special to see.
“It doesn’t have to be a father necessarily,” she said. “If the daughter and her parent find someone they feel is appropriate, they can take them. We’ve had older brothers and uncles, and I know one dad who took his two girls and two girls of a friend who was a single mom, and that was wonderful to see.”
It’s an event that, Brown said, has been embraced wonderfully by the school and the community.
“We’re just so happy with how well the community and the school has embraced it, and a huge thanks to everybody who donated and volunteered their time to make it a success,” she said.
Brown said her husband, Matt Ley, and daughter, Josie, certainly had a good time.
“Matt and Josie were there, and Josie said it was the best dance ever,” she said.
Not to worry, moms and sons – your night out is coming up around Valentine’s Day, with the Mother/Son dance scheduled for Friday, Feb. 10.
For more information about Wayne Elementary Boosters (WEB), click here.