MONROE — The 26 teachers at Chain Lake Elementary School were all smiles when they lined up in front of the students seated on the gym floor for a school assembly.
The teachers started to dance, swiveling their hips to Chubby Checker’s “The Twist.”
The students clapped and screamed. Some even stood and began twisting, too.
The outbreak of dancing was the answer to a challenge from the school’s principal: If the kids were able to raise more than $20,000 for the school and the teachers would have to compete in a dance-off.
“It was fun to look at the teachers dance like crazy and the students cheering for them,” said fifth-grader Molly Addicott, 11. “I think everyone worked harder to see their teacher dance.”
The teachers were first sorted by their twisting skills. Those left standing got their zombie on, showing their moves to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”
Three teachers were left.
The students then cheered second-grade teacher Marlene Roth as the winner.
Her students were proud and happy that she won. Roth enjoys dancing and said the challenge was a good incentive for the students to raise money.
“It gave the opportunity to children to learn how to do fundraisers for a cause greater than themselves,” Roth said.
The students participated early this month in a walkathon to raise money for support materials that will be used in math and reading classes. The money also will pay for four amplification systems to help teachers communicate with students using a wireless microphone.
The goal was to raise $12,000. The students raised more than $23,000.
As a special treat for their hard work, four students won lunch today with Monroe firefighters, including a chance to ride in a fire truck.
The dance-off challenge idea came from Principal Gina Anderson. Teachers had danced at another assembly that marked the start of the fundraiser.
“It was in a spur of the moment,” Anderson said. “The kids wanted more.”
She told the students that the teachers would dance again, but only if students raised more than $20,000.
The students got cash pledges from family and others in the community.
The new microphone systems benefit everyone.
“It makes it easier to hear if you are in the back of the class,” said fifth-grader Hannah Comer, 11, whose classroom already uses one of the systems.
Dancing was a good way to get the whole school moving to the same beat.
“It was fun to see the teachers dance,” said first-grade teacher Verity Hiskey. “It’s something we don’t ordinarily do.”
Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422; firstname.lastname@example.org.