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A fan favorite

Just Plain Dance is one of the districts biggest fundraisers, in 2024 it raised a record-breaking amount
Ruby Shaheen
Pretty in Pink: Staff members Marie Speakman, Tyler Adkins, Kristen Sheppard, Jennifer Caldwell, Jill Balderson, and Tyler Smith perform Barbie in Just Plain Dance. “All the teams work so hard for a couple months learning the choreography for the dance, fundraising, preparing our show outfits, for it all to come down to 1 really special, incredibly fun night,” Tilenni said.

“Hi Barbie!” A phrase common to anyone who was on social media throughout July 2023. Recently, Just Plain Dance’s fan favorite group, GlenOak High School, decided to give spotlight back to these words.

Each year, since 2015, the Plain Local School District holds a district wide fundraiser titled Just Plain Dance. Held on Jan. 24, 2024, the district combined was able to raise over $35,000. This is the most money to ever be recorded coming from Just Plain Dance. Money raised from Just Plain Dance is turned over to the Plain Local Foundation. 

“It can be in the form of a Star Grant,” Public Relations Director Mary Beddell said. “It can also help in purchasing something for a program that may not otherwise be possible.” 

A Star Grant is a grant that staff members and teachers are able to apply for to support something in their classroom or an experience for their students. 

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“The funds are put into an account with the foundation, earmarked for art initiatives,” Beddell said. “This year’s event was an overwhelming success, we plan to sit down with the Foundation to discuss how it can make the most impact during next school year for our students and art programs.” 

GlenOaks dance was based on the hit movie Barbie, raised $6,700, and won fan  favorite; however, the team came in second to Warstler, who raised around $185 more. 

To get students involved, Just Plain Dance started as a ‘Dancing with the Stars theme’. Two staff members would be paired, which changed in 2017 to just having a group performance. 

Substitute teacher Megan Tilenni has participated in Just Plain Dance for two years (last year she participated with Oakwood), and has seen the amount of work that goes into this fundraiser. 

“We practiced at the school every week for an hour, sometimes we practiced a couple times a week,” Tilenni said.

Not only did the work go in at the school to perfect the dance, but at home too. 

“Greta (student director) would videotape us dancing during our practice at school, send it to us in our group Remind, and we all spent hours outside of school practicing at home,” Tilenni said. 

A big part of the money raised came from outside sources, such as business who wanted to support.

“We didn’t pay for all of the gift cards that were in our raffle baskets,” French Teacher Julie Filliez said. “They were all donated by local businesses and they were very generous.”

The raffle baskets became one of the greatest money makers, on top of the performance. 

“The most money we raised came from selling raffle tickets, we also sold Super Bowl squares,” Filliez said.

Over $860 was raised from good luck messages and donations, $200 from Elf Grams, $1,575 from raffle tickets, $880 from stores and restaurants, $1,000 from stores and restaurants, $850 from the performance preview and $535 from candy sales.

The performance for the students allowed for teachers to pay $15 to bring their whole class, and $1 if a student wanted to go alone, or was not going with the class.

This performance, while a little nerve-wracking, was a major confidence boost for the staff members.

“It was a little bit scary to do, but then once we did it we had such a positive reaction, it was a great morale booster and it was really fun,” Filliez said.

Other than their money, all the teachers got along well together, making it a great experience overall.

“I felt like with the mix of teachers that were committing to doing Just Plain Dance, okay I could do this,” Art Teacher Jill Balderson said. “That was my favorite part, I loved the people I worked with.”

Balderson did happen to get a Star Grant from the money that has been raised over the years, and hopes one day it could turn into something even greater.

“I did get a Star Grant for the first time last year and that was a really great experience, and it’s something I want to build on,” Balderson said. “The upstairs level of the library is kind of a ghost town, it’s beautifully lit and I envision long term an art gallery.”

This could be something to show off students’ works in the future. 

“We could have student work, staff work, or maybe even host local artists.” 

Just Plain Dance is a fundraiser that has seen success for many years, and hopefully more to come. It’s a fun experience for teachers and students alike that has been able to support staff members, and make for better classroom experiences.

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About the Contributor
Taylor Noe
Taylor Noe, Feature Editor
Taylor Noe (she/her) is a senior. This is her 3rd year on staff. She's also involved in Speech and Debate, Lacrosse, Marching, Jazz, Pep, & Concert Band. She's a member of the OSMA Student Board, the Student Ambassador Program, and the Athena Lacrosse Team. Lastly, she is a Key Club Officer. For fun she likes to watch TikTok and spend time with her friends. A fun fact about her is she owns 2 gerbils named Buckeye and Snickers.
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