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Work-to-rule? Annapolis communities come together for student dances

Grade 11 girls dressed up for the student dance Feb. 23 at the Legion in Bridgetown. The event was organized by the community because it couldn’t be held at the school during a work-to-rule strike action by teachers.
Grade 11 girls dressed up for the student dance Feb. 23 at the Legion in Bridgetown. The event was organized by the community because it couldn’t be held at the school during a work-to-rule strike action by teachers.

BRIDGETOWN - The night of Thursday, Feb. 23 may have seemed dark and cold to some, but to high school students in Bridgetown, it was a much needed night of music, dancing, and liveliness, as they gathered together for the first time in months -- at the Bridgetown Legion for a dance.

Due to work-to-rule strike action by teachers, regularly scheduled dances at Bridgetown Regional High School could not be held. The idea for the town to host a community dance instead came from Angela Clark, key organizer of the Feb. 23 event. Clark has a daughter in Grade 7 at BRHS, who was disappointed that getting a dress, and going to a dance with her friends would seemingly not be a possibility this winter. Angela had faith, however, that the community could come together to make something happen.

See what West Kings students did.

Lot’s of support was to be found on Facebook, as students and their parents alike volunteered to help. A group was made, and a venue donated. Angela Clark’s son Nick Clark offered to DJ the event.

“It was the easiest resort, since I own DJ equipment,” said Nick. “I did borrow speakers and lights, but other than that, everything is mine.”

Due to work-to-rule strike action by teachers, regularly scheduled dances at Bridgetown Regional High School could not be held. The idea for the town to host a community dance instead came from Angela Clark, key organizer of the Feb. 23 event. Clark has a daughter in Grade 7 at BRHS, who was disappointed that getting a dress, and going to a dance with her friends would seemingly not be a possibility this winter. Angela had faith, however, that the community could come together to make something happen.

See what West Kings students did.

Lot’s of support was to be found on Facebook, as students and their parents alike volunteered to help. A group was made, and a venue donated. Angela Clark’s son Nick Clark offered to DJ the event.

“It was the easiest resort, since I own DJ equipment,” said Nick. “I did borrow speakers and lights, but other than that, everything is mine.”

Free Admission

Since both the venue and the DJ came at no expense, dance organizers were able to make admission free for the students. Refreshments were available for purchase as well, with parents like Jennifer Lawrence and Sabrina Osborne volunteering their time to sell them. Other members of the community checked students’ coats, chaperoned, or minded the door -- like Angela’s husband Ted Clarke.

When asked why he was helping out that night, Ted Clarke pointed at his wife and joked, “She made me do it!” His real motivations, however had to do with his kids, and students like them.  

“All kids need a release. You can’t go to school 24/7 and not do anything. You need some activities that are fun.” Ted said.

Bridgetown’s community dance isn’t the only of its kind, however. On Jan. 27 a teen dance was held for students in the ARRA gymnasium in Annapolis Royal. This dance was thought of and organized by student Zeynep Tonak, head of the Dance Committee at Annapolis West Education Centre.

Emma Rice and Joel Sheridan attended the student dance in Bridgetown that was organized by parents, students, and the community. The venue was donated, and the DJ was free, the dance didn’t cost the students anything.

Town Helps

“I had been in the middle of planning our winter semi formal when having a dance at school became no longer an option,” said Tonak, “Our town’s newly elected mayor had already expressed interest in having a relationship with youth in the community, so I reached out to ask for support in organizing the event.”

Along with the help of Noah Scanlan, Active Living Coordinator for the town of Annapolis Royal, parents, and family of students, the dance was a great success.

“On the night of the dance, community members who hadn't even signed up to chaperone just came by and asked if we needed help, then stayed to talk to the other parents and watch the kids dance. The dance would not have happened without the community,” Tonak said.

Both Annapolis and Bridgetown dances had to be rescheduled from their original dates, due to stormy weather, and occurred instead on dates where it was safe for students to make the journey to the dance.

“Our hope is that the kids, all grades, come out and have some normal fun that they've missed out on because of the labour issues with the teachers and government,” said Angela Clark about what she hoped students would get out of the night.  “I'm hoping the students realize the community is here for them and we will make things happen. They are our priority.”

 

Feels Good

“It feels really good, because it shows that the people in the community care about how the kids feel, and what they like to do,” said student Courtney Veinott, demonstrating that the support and care the community has for its students wasn’t lost on them, and that it was appreciated.

At Bridgetown’s dance, students let loose after a long exam season. Excitement was ever present in the crowd, even more so when certain songs came on. Students took to singing out the lyrics of ‘Don’t Stop Believin’’ by Journey with spirit when it was played. Underlying all of the night's festivities was the prominent feeling of community coming together -- and having a little fun in the middle of a very long winter.

Article by Elyse Whitman, a student at Bridgetown Regional High School who is working with The Spectator.

Kyle Garde and Courtney Veinott at the student dance in Bridgetown Feb. 23. “It feels really good, because it shows that the people in the community care about how the kids feel, and what they like to do,” said Veinott.

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