• Mary Jo Dyre

Imagination "Let Loosed"


No luck finding pictures from the first-ever Learning Center Sweetheart Ball, but we nailed the details.

The soon-to-become annual event debuted at a location that may surprise many of you: The Econo Lodge Dragon Palace Restaurant...yes, the same building at 78 Terrace Avenue that The Learning Center is now renovating for future use. For the first ball, Larry and Cheryl Montgomery served as the honorary King and Queen. At this February 2002 event, Cheryl, our Front Office Receptionist and her husband Larry ushered in the Sweetheart Ball tradition of selecting two students who represented the character traits that other students saw as the kindest, the nicest, the most considerate in their classmates.

The Sweetheart Ball upheld several goals: Give our students the opportunity to rise to an occasion, to be their better selves, to walk into an over-the-top decorated venue that brought out the, "Wow!" To find a reason to dress-up, to dance, to move out of preconceived comfort zones; to laugh uncontrollably, to try the limbo; to hang with the human train as it circled the dance floor. To "let loose" all imaginations in the creation of a magical night.

The date was always the Friday before Valentines. Families and businesses contributed to the Prince and Princess Closet to assure that dress-up clothing or themed costumes were available to all.

Every one seemed to walk or dance " ten feet off of Beale" throughout the evening. I'll always treasure the young student who announced with amazement, "It's Paris!" the night the French City of Love inspired our themed decor for the magical ball. More so, I was always proud that more students and teachers, than not, were on the dance floor as opposed to being wall-flowers. I still have former students tell me, "No one throws a party like The Learning Center."

If you find treasured pictures from these events, be a sweetheart and please share.

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