Finals are fast approaching and the air of tension as students bustle from class to class and lock themselves in the library for hours at night has never been so high. Few people would imagine that two weeks ago on March 31st these very same stressed out students were shaking it for all they were worth in Hazelrigg Gym. Though I’m sure it would be easy to find a student or two who might admit to having such dance parties in their own rooms to relieve stress, few could claim that they did it for six whole hours. Additionally, those six hours of dancing were raising money and awareness for Wilderness Trace Child Development Center.

While dancing and philanthropy were the focus of the event, there were other activities to keep participants engaged. Bouncy houses were implemented and students raced one another, dodging, ducking and diving, all while grooving to killer tunes. When students weren’t socializing, taking pictures with the large gold balloon letters, they were of course dancing. Students could raise money for a good cause and enjoy themselves right before the true stress of final assignments and exams set in and limited the time they might have left to dance in their own rooms. Maggie McClain, a sophomore reported “I had a great time, but I did manage to scrape up my knee in the bouncy house. I’m willing to take the pain if it’s for the kids at Wilderness Trace.” Olivia Murrell, also a sophomore helped to facilitate the rides and said that “seeing everyone out there having a good time was really awesome.” Overall, Centre’s campus is always up for a good time, especially when it includes bouncy houses and charity.

However, the true star of the event was of course, Wilderness Trace Child Development Center. Many students have close connections to Wilderness Trace because many student philanthropic organizations focus their efforts on behalf of Wilderness Trace and spend extensive amounts of time raising money on their behalf. The pre-school center was created to serve children with disabilities in the Danville community and started in one room in the Danville First Presbyterian Church. Wilderness Trace has not expanded its classes to include students without disabilities to give both students an opportunity to experience the company of other children who are unlike themselves. The mission statement of Wildrenss Trace reads “Wilderness Trace Child Development Center crafts an early education experience engaging children of side-by- side creating enhanced peer modeling and character development experiences. The Center prepares each child socially, cognitively, and emotionally for kindergarten and ultimately a life of independence.” The organization has provided critical early education for students across the Danville area and the broader Boyle county area.

The Dance Gold marathon was founded last year and its founders hope to see it continue as an annual tradition at Centre. Undoubtedly, Centre students will appreciate the chance to blow some steam and raise money for a cause so critical to the Danville community. Any opportunity to bring students closer to the Danville community should be celebrated, especially when it includes friendship, dancing, and quality music.

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