Hillpoint shows spirit for cause

Published 11:04 pm Friday, March 22, 2019

The teachers and staff at Hillpoint Elementary School may have been the ones doing the bulk of the performing, but the Spirit of Hillpoint Staff Pageant Friday afternoon was really about the students and the March of Dimes.

Judy Flick, a kindergarten teacher who chaired the school’s March of Dimes committee, said this year’s event raised more than $5,000, and over the three years that the school has been holding a March of Dimes event — three years for the students’ Tiny Miss and Master Hillpoint Pageant and the second for the teacher’s pageant — and the school has raised more than $15,000.

The 10 staff members who raised the most money got to perform for students on Friday. Those performances included dancing and singing, most in bold costumes — and all of them included students in their performances.

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Kindergarten teacher Mary Russell kicked off the performances with a rap, and the other nine Hillpoint staff members kept up the level of energy throughout. First grade teacher Sharonda Lewis sang the Whitney Houston song, “Greatest Love of All,” then kindergarten teacher Kalihma Fenner called students up on stage to ask what they wanted to be when they grew up.

Special education ASD teacher Ashley Shanfelter tap-danced to Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” while students did cartwheels and danced in front of her on stage.

Dean of Students Nicole Duplain passed out pom-poms to the students in the crowd and then had a few more on stage dance, and fifth-grade teacher Rita Scheer walked a dog on stage with her students behind her.

Kindergarten and first grade teacher assistant Shakina Teel then danced, and students dressed in white danced in front of the stage during her performance.

Students applauded and cheered loudly during the staff performances, and judges scored them, with the school’s administrative assistant, Shonda Bell, who won the staff pageant. Several students performed a short skit before calling out for Bell, who led them in a step-dancing routine. She called for students to be respectful and responsible, emphasizing the word “be” in capital letters on her shirt.

First-grade teacher Ashleigh Hatfield, dressed in green and gold, danced to the Justin Timberlake song “Can’t Stop the Feeling” before kindergarten teacher Cherie Brookman closed out the performances by having her students dance with her, with one pretending to play a piano.

Bell said she was not expecting to win, but her performance incorporated several students and asked students to remember to be respectful and responsible.

“It was a lot of fun,” Bell said. “And just to hear the feedback from the crowd was unbelievable.”

Flick said everyone at the school wanted the students to see the impact of the fundraising, not just that they gave money. She said she also appreciated sponsors Johnson’s Garden Center and Mason’s Grill and Smokehouse who donated gifts and prizes for the event. Russell was the staff member who raised the most money.

Student winners included Cheryl James, McKenzie Britt, Desiree’ Wyche, Lilly McIvor, Michael Sperry and Kyler Brookman, with Brookman earning top student fundraiser honors. This is the first year the school included boys in the student pageant.

“We wanted it to be a whole school thing,” Flick said. “We really try to promote community service around here, and get them to understand that we can all help out. We never want it be about us, and it wasn’t.”