ARLINGTON — Students from across the Arlington school district came together for an evening of dancing, games and remembrance Thursday night as Post Middle School hosted the Oso Strength and Unity Dance.
According to faculty coordinator Robin Foster, the dance was a time to remember those lost and appreciate those still with us.
Motivated by their motto, “After a mountain moves, we will move a mountain,” a group of Post Middle School eighth-graders in a leadership class taught by Robin Foster organized the dance. The event was attended by more than 1,000 students.
“We wanted everyone to know we’re here for them and unite all students from the three schools,” student Devin Kennedy said.
The organizers extended an invitation to all middle school students from Oso, Arlington and Darrington to join in the festivities. The Arlington School District provided transportation, and a DJ donated music for the dance.
Middle school students who attended the event either made a donation of food or money to gain entrance. The donated food was collected for the Arlington Food Bank and more than $2,000 was raised for the North Counties’ Family Services Relief Fund in Darrington.
Other activities at the event included bingo, ping-pong, a retro video game room, Foosball and a cake walk.
Through a grant secured by the Post Middle School PTSA, there was plenty of food for everyone. Pizza, donuts, snow cones, popcorn and cotton candy were provided for all students at no cost.
“Everyone had a smile on their face the entire night,” eighth-grader and co-organizer Curtis Welch said.
To honor their late classmate, Jovon “JoJo” Mangual, the students planned a game involving rubber duckies to incorporate the mascot of JoJo’s favorite team, the University of Oregon.
For the past two months, students of Post Middle School have orchestrated a myriad of events to support those affected by the Oso slide. Immediately after the mudslide, students donated their school gym to the Red Cross.
The students also received thousands of yellow shoelaces, donated by Converse and Nike. The middle school students wear the laces to remember JoJo. Yellow was his favorite color.
“The littlest things help in the community,” Kennedy said.