LAWRENCE, Kan. – Not only did every “Blast from the Past” performance provide a unique way to learn historical moments in Boys & Girls Club history – the kids who performed were absolutely electric on the Lawrence Free State High School stage Friday night.
Starting at 1931 with Broken Arrow BGC and ending in 2016 with Prairie Park BGC, each of the 15 Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence sites chose songs from a designated milestone year in BGC history to perform in front of a packed FSHS crowd. Song selections ranged from Fats Waller to Little Richard to The Monkees to Justin Timberlake. Although every dancer gave it all they had, by night’s end, Mike Anderson, the event emcee, announced Kennedy BGC as the winner.
Kennedy was handed the 1956 “Blast from the Past” assignment. Complete with poodle skirts for the young ladies and ties for the young men, they danced to a medley of songs from the same year that the Boys Club of America received its official Congressional Charter.
Prairie Park, with the year 2016, and Schwegler, with 1997, took second and third place, respectively. The old cliché certainly rang true as every performer was worthy of a winning vote. From handmade poodle skits, flapper dresses, tissue paper flowers, robot masks and countless other touches – each performer and their mentors pulled out all the stops.
“Lights On is a great showcase of the talent, enthusiasm and courage of our Boys & Girls Club members,” Executive Director, Colby Wilson, said. “I’m really proud of our Club staff and mentors who inspire so many young people to find their passion and work hard to achieve their goals.”
As in previous years, one debonair dance troupe from each of Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence’s 15 sites (max of 15 kids per team) danced to a three-minute routine taught by staff or even dreamed up by the kids themselves. They put weeks of practice into learning their routine before pulling it all together for the main event. A panel of judges scored each dance to determine first, second and third place. This year’s esteemed panel consisted of: Margaret Weisbrod-Morris, Hanan Misko, Melissa Johnson, Beth Chahine and Michelle Siedner.
Launched in October 2000, Lights On Afterschool is the only nationwide annual event celebrating afterschool programs and their important role in the lives of children, families and communities. The national celebration of Lights On Afterschool Day (Oct. 20) is a tribute to the organizations across the country that keep their “lights on” after school hours. Approximately 8,000 afterschool programs are expected to participate in the 17th annual Lights On Afterschool, holding rallies, science fairs, fun runs, student performances, community service events, sports competitions and – in Lawrence’s case – a talent show.
The Afterschool Alliance organizes Lights On Afterschool to draw attention to the many ways afterschool programs support students by offering them opportunities to learn new things—such as science, community service, robotics, theater and the experience of traveling sporting events. The events send a powerful message that millions more kids need quality afterschool programs. As a partner of the alliance and the largest afterschool program in Lawrence, the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence works every day to help fill that need.