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DWTS: Couple 8

“Mohawk Presents Calhoun’s Dancing with the Stars Gets Schooled!” will put eighteen local high school students onstage for back-to-back shows at 1:30 and 7:00 on Saturday, August 8 at the Calhoun Performing Arts Center.  Nine dance teams will vie for trophies, bragging rights and college scholarships as they compete to raise funds for United Way of Gordon County. 

“Please note that this event will be held in accordance with any health and safety guidelines in place at the time of the show. We want to provide the safest event possible while adhering to health and safety guidelines and recommendations. Plans are being finalized with procedures meant to best serve our community and create a memorable event for everyone,” said Jennifer Latour, Executive Director of United Way of Gordon County. “United Way of Gordon County has taken measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 during this event, including providing masks for those who request them and requiring distancing among a limited audience. Tickets will not be sold to the public this year.”

“Audience members are responsible for abiding by any rules or guidelines put in place for everyone’s protection. These measures do not guarantee that a person will not contract the virus while on these premises, and participants enter at their own risk,” she continued. “Please do not enter the premises if you have any of the following symptoms: fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, unexplained muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, a medical diagnosis of COVID-19, known exposure or contact with someone having a COVID-19 diagnosis.”

“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, and Dr. Amy Parker with Gordon County Schools that has been working 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 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,” Latour continued. “I would like to thank Mohawk Industries for being the Premier Sponsor of Dancing with the Stars! If you are sponsoring a couple or are an event sponsor, you are directly helping United Way make a difference in our community.”

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.  The dancers, listed alphabetically by last name, are Ben Bingham, Isaac Brackett, Hayes Carpenter, Ethan Crump, Jayce Derryberry, Aubrey Dorsey, Madeline Erwin, Caitlyn Glaze, Catherine Govignon, Will Holden, Marlee Jackson, Mariah Key, Aavyn Lee, Jackson Murray, Sierra Scott, Cameron West, Megan Wright, and Meghan Young.

Two very talented students will hit the stage as the eighth dancing duo in this year’s competition.  Marlee Jackson and Cameron West will dance together. Jackson is the daughter of Eric and Autumn Jackson while West is the son of Shane and Becky West.  

An active student at Calhoun High School, Jackson will begin her junior year this August. She is involved in theatre and enjoys performing, as evidenced by her appearance in ten Calhoun High School shows including “Pippin, 13 the Musical, Peter Pan, and The Addams Family.”  Last year, she was chosen to participate in an ensemble performance at the prestigious Shuler Awards event in Atlanta.

Jackson is one of the Mighty Jackets’ drum majors and this season will be her second year on the field in that capacity. Jackson is particularly close to her sister, Kinsley, who she considers her best friend.  She is a lifetime member of Calhoun First Baptist Church. A diehard fan of the show, she has attended every presentation of “Calhoun’s Dancing with the Stars” since the fundraiser began and is excited to dance with West to “Footloose/Cruising for a Bruising.”  She and West attend different schools and churches, so their paths had never crossed, but she invited him to be her partner because her mother had been his teacher and spoke very highly of him.

West also was a very involved student, serving as Student Body President at Gordon Central High School and captain of the varsity football cheerleading squad before his graduation last month. He attends Trinity Baptist Church, loves running and being outdoors. Known for his legendary work ethic, West is extremely focused and ambitious. Currently, he is employed with Chick-fil-A of Calhoun. 

This year, 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.

This will be the fourth student show, which spun off the adult version that ran for five years at the historic GEM Theatre.  The dancers are learning more about United Way, its agencies and programs.  As details unfold and plans are finalized, additional information will be made available through social media and the United Way website.

The mission of United Way of Gordon County is to accurately assess the needs of Gordon County and to mobilize available resources to meet those needs. It serves eighteen local agencies in Gordon County, as well as serving as a referral source for the community.