by Lisa Tome
Luckily, Dale Amos keeps up to date with music.
Amos has been chaperoning school and community dances for well over 30 years, and that keeps him in tune.
Amos, a teacher at Rising Sun Middle, signed on to monitor the first dance of the school year last week. Dances are held after school from 3- 4:30. "They (middle schoolers) seem to have a lot more energy now. But maybe that's my lack of energy," said Amos. He said he's used to the music. "I listen to all the current stuff. There's more rap and hip hop now. But the kids dance to the line dances that have been around awhile- "Cotton Eye Joe", "YMCA", and "Cha-Cha Slide".
Amos said there is a huge difference between girls and boys at dances. "Eighth grade girls will put it all out there and dance. Sixth grade boys are a little more shy," he said. "And seventh grade boys don't think dancing is cool."
But there are exceptions to every rule.
Sam Abbey, Kyle Davies, and Wyatt Yolton, a trio of seventh grade friends, took to the dance floor. At times, they were the only males dancing on the female dominated dance floor.
"I like the Cha Cha Slide. You just follow the directions. I like to dance whenever I hear music. I didn't notice we were the only guys," said Abbey.
"We did it (the Cha Cha Slide) in elementary school. I like to dance. I can do the worm. I did the worm at my aunt's wedding," said Davies. Yolton agreed. "I danced at my sister's wedding. It's fun dancing," said Yolton.
Not everyone is there for the entertainment. "Some are here for the food. It's about 50/50. There's always kids in line for the food and drinks," said Amos.
Members of the PTO sold candy bars and sodas for $1 each. Pizza, bought from a local business, sold for $2 a slice. The 16 pizzas were sold out within the first 35 minutes of the dance. When it comes to soft drinks, Mountain Dew out sold the other choices three to one. A Kona Ice truck was also in the school's parking lot, selling flavored shaved ice. Kona, in turn, donates back to the school.
Brandy Douglas has volunteered with the PTO for six years at RSMS. She said the PTO uses the funds raised from food sales to give back to the school.
Last year, $3,200 was used to offset the cost of field trips. Another $800 paid for the school musical production. "I came to middle school dances here," said Douglas. "Just the music is different. Everything else is the same. More kids come out for them now. We've had 300 kids here. We have four dances every year and the eighth grade formal."
Joanna Dahl, a sixth grader at the school, was on crutches because she has a fractured kneecap.
Dahl didn't let that sideline her. She said she wasn't disappointed and glad to be at the dance despite her injury.
Those who don't like to dance, but still like to move, have a second option. The dances have been moved to the school's cafeteria. The school gym is open for basketball and volleyball during the dance.