Sign me up for updates. Signup now

You are here

Calhoun Students are Dancing for a Cause

Mohawk Presents Dancing with the Stars 2020
Calhoun Students are Dancing for a Cause

It’s only January, and we are already in the beginning phases of planning this year’s Dancing with the Stars! On Sunday, January 5 starting at 8:00 a.m., we announced the student dancers via our Facebook page — couples were announced on the hour every hour until 4:00 p.m. — I am so sorry for any anxiety this might have caused! Nine couples were selected and voted on by three out-of-town judges. This year’s audition process was the most competitive yet, so thank you to everyone who auditioned to help support a very worthy cause. The show is scheduled for Saturday, May 23 with a matinée and evening show planned. Tickets go on sale in late March.

Dancing with the Stars is a reinvention of the original 2012 event which featured adult contestants performing at the historic GEM Theatre. Since 2017, the show has featured local student dancers instead of adults. Only the winners and runners-up of the People’s Choice and Judges’ Choice will receive scholarships. The first-place team will receive $1,000 per student; the second-place team will receive $750 per student and the third-place team will receive $500 per student.

Dancing with the Stars is a fundraiser put on by United Way of Gordon County. United Way is a local 501(c)(3) non-profit organization serving the Gordon County area. We work every day to advance the common good by investing in quality human service programs and by working with philanthropists, businesses, churches, local governments, and dedicated community volunteers to create lasting and measurable changes. United Way creates opportunities for all by focusing on the building blocks for a good life: Education, Basic Needs, and Health.

We encourage our students to volunteer at one of our agencies throughout the process to learn more about the agencies they are fundraising for. It’s an excellent opportunity for them to learn about the issues and causes that our community faces, and how United Way is fighting to fill those gaps.

Planning an event like Dancing with the Stars truly takes a village. We have a planning committee that consists of Andy Baxter with Andy Baxter Photography, Jennie Coker with Calhoun City Schools, Kristy Brown with Greater Community Bank, retired educator Michelle Frix Ward, Joni Harbin with the Gordon County Chamber of Commerce and Calhoun-Gordon Council for a Literate Community, and Dr. Amy Parker with Gordon County Schools has been working on and off since August 2019 to put the 2020 show together. This committee is a hands-on group of local professionals who are fully committed to the success of the event and United Way.

Several of our committee members – Andy Baxter, Kristy Brown and Michelle Frix Ward – have competed in previous shows. Joni Thomas Harbin will return as event emcee along with her daughter Olivia Harbin – Their duo-gig is sure to be a blast! Michelle Frix Ward is volunteering her time and talents by providing the choreography for the group dance while Andy Baxter Photography is donating his time to offer free photography for all the dancers and for digital content promotion.
The planning committee is central to the success of the show, but the group that really matters consists of the 18 students who will hit the stage to compete in May.

Meet Our 2020 Dancers

Couple #1 – Aavyn Lee & Sierra Scott
Couple #2 – Will Holden & Madeline Erwin
Couple #3 – Meghan Young & Ethan Crump
Couple #4 – Ben Bingham & Catherine Govignon
Couple #5 – Mariah Key & Jayce Derryberry
Couple #6 – Caitlyn Glaze & Hayes Carpenter
Couple #7 – Jackson Murray & Megan Wright
Couple #8 – Cameron West & Marlee Jackson
Couple #9 – Isaac Brackett & Aubry Dorsey

I would like to thank Mohawk Industries for being the Premier Sponsor of Dancing with Stars! As details unfold and plans are finalized, additional information can be found on our website at or on social media @uwgordoncounty.

Jennifer Latour is the Executive Director of United Way of Gordon County. This article appeared in the Calhoun Times on January 10, 2020.