Eight members of the Darlington Community put service beyond self when they agreed to participate in the 7th Annual Rome Celebrity Dance Challenge to benefit the Sexual Assault Center of Northwest Georgia this month.
After months of practice and a variety of successful team fundraisers, contestants took the stage this weekend to show off their new skills. By all accounts, the audience was impressed, and together the group of 20 raised more than $173,000 to support victims' services.
"The Rome Celebrity Dance Challenge has become one of Rome's biggest and most fun annual fundraisers, and it made me proud to see Darlington so well represented this year," said Tannika Wester, director of communications at Darlington and board member for the Sexual Assault Center of Northwest Georgia. "It was awesome to see so much Tiger Spirit in the audience on Saturday!"
Darlington Learning Specialist Justin Bruce and his instructor, Jessica Tucker, won the Judges' Choice Award for their hip hop routine to a Bruno Mars mix.
"It was an incredible night," said Bruce. "Thanks to Jessica for putting together a killer routine and to the crowd for so much crazy energy! I made some new friends and helped an amazing organization. It was as fun a night as I had imagined!"
Alumni Council member Chris Jackson ('02) and his instructor, Darlington parent Tahnya Jones, won the People's Choice Award after raising more than $38,900 for the Sexual Assault Center of NWGA.
Another parent, Paige Swiger, and her partner, Chase Tolbert, a math teacher at Darlington, were named People's Choice runners up after raising more than $30,900.
Dean of Student Life Brant Evans also competed at the event, dancing with his wife, Ashley, a Spanish teacher at Darlington.
"To step outside of your comfort zone and do something like this is not easy, but I think all of our teams would agree that it was well worth it," said Wester. "They all worked incredibly hard and raised a tremendous amount of money for the SAC, a critical resource in our community. I hope that our students at Darlington see this as one more example of service beyond self coming to life."
Other participants were:
• Wayne Evans of River City Antique Mall dancing with Jessica Cole of Kennesaw State University
• Will Pinson of Pinson’s Inc. dancing with Lacey Pinson of Model High School
• Cpt. Dave Roberson of the Floyd County Sheriff’s Office dancing with Faith Im of Shorter University
• Dr. Kipp Slicker of Harbin Clinic dancing with Hannah Camacho of The Dance Centre
• Elaine Snow, recently retired chief of the Rome Police Department, dancing with retired educator Steve St. Clair
• Amos Tuck, natural resource consultant, dancing with Emily Tumlin of Rome Athletic Club
The program concluded with a high-energy performance by Darlington alumnus Justin Brand ('15).
Click here to read the Aug. 6 Rome News-Tribune article about the event.