Several members of the Darlington Community put service beyond self when they agreed to participate in the 8th 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 18 raised more than $188,000 to support victims' services.
"The Rome Celebrity Dance Challenge has become one of Rome's biggest and most fun annual fundraisers, and it always makes me proud to see Darlington well represented," said Tannika King, 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 fourth-grade teacher Thad Mathis ('10) and his instructor, Tara Ogle, won the Judges' Choice Award for their routine, which took the audience through the decades with varied music and dance styles.
"I can’t believe I had the opportunity to participate in the RCDC!" said Mathis. "The fact that it raised so much money for such a phenomenal organization was what made the intense practices, long hours, and nerve-wracking competition worth it. All of the relationships gained from this experience are invaluable, as well as all of the support for the SAC. This is something I am extremely proud to have been a part of and I truly wish I could do it again!"
Alumnus Matt Plant ('90) of OTR Wheel Engineering and his instructor, JoAnna Parker, won the People's Choice Award after raising more than $82,000 for the Sexual Assault Center of NWGA.
Alumnus and former faculty member Chase Tolbert ('12) also competed in the event as did Dr. Kristen Leezer, wife of science teacher Brendan Leezer.
"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 King. "They 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."