Glacier Peak students, teachers dance for food bank

SNOHOMISH — At the last rehearsal before “Dancing with the Grizzlies,” special education math teacher Zack Schaefer decided to pull a prank on the dance instructor.

He showed up with crutches and bandages on his left foot.

“I had her going for a minute before I told her it was a joke,” Schaefer said. “She was furious.”

The anger subsidized after Schaefer won first place at the dancing competition.

For the second year in a row, Glacier Peak High School hosted the event which mirrors “Dancing With the Stars,” an ABC show where celebrities are paired with professional dancers and are judged while they perform ballroom dancing.

Saturday’s event raised $2,300 for the Maltby Food Bank.

Schaefer was selected the winner with his quickstep by a panel of judges and the public.

The eight participants were paired up with a dance instructor from the American Ballroom Dance Institute in Bothell.

Participants practiced twice a week for the month of November, and even with all the training, they were nervous about the competition.

Junior McKenzie Wilkinson ignored the audience so she wouldn’t get stage fright.

She doesn’t like performing in front of a large group of people, but she signed up because she wanted to be more involved with the school.

“It was really fun. I have never danced with a partner before,” said McKenzie, 17.

She won third place with her swing. History teacher Darrin Devito won second place.

There were about 500 people who attended the event. “Dancing with the Grizzlies” was also the official start of the school’s food drive, organizer and PE teacher Joey Mutcheson said.

Overall, it was a great event with people having fun and good amount raised for the food bank, Mutcheson said.

For Schaefer, the best thing was the camaraderie among the contestants. Learning the dance steps was frustrating sometimes, but it was a good experience, he said.

“It was a fun thing to do and I always like to step up to a challenge,” he said.

Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422; adominguez@

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