Diamond at the danceDance marathon interupted for marriage proposal
The former junior high gymnasium was hopping Saturday night during the annual mini-Dance Marathon put on by the Washington High School dance marathon committee. Before the four hours of non-stop dancing, students and teachers put on a variety show for the couple hundred people in attendance.
The highlight of the variety show was a public marriage proposal from high school Spanish teacher Chad Wieland to his girlfriend, Kelly Coyer. Wieland and fellow teacher Tom Langr were on stage preparing to sing the song, “Wanted,” by Hunter Hayes. Wieland told the crowd he was nervous about the performance and wanted his girlfriend to sit by him.
Once Coyer came on stage, a bouquet of flowers was lowered from the ceiling on a wire. Four high school students took the stage, each student holding a large posterboard. Wieland dropped down on one knee while the students flipped their posters to reveal the words, “Will you marry me?” Coyer accepted the proposal and the crowd erupted in raucous applause.
“My students and I had been brainstorming ideas for three weeks,” Wieland said.
Wieland said that his students made the posters and picked out the flowers, neither of which he saw until he was on stage that night.
“I was really relying on my students,” he said. “They really came through for me. Everyone knew about this except [Coyer]. She had no clue it was going to happen until I moved the microphone stand. The flowers started dropping, and that’s when she realized, ‘This is happening!’”
The dance marathon itself was also a success. The students have raised $6,300 so far, which is over $1,000 more than what they had raised by the same point last year.
Of that $6,300, nearly $2,000 came from the students themselves. The four high school grades had a competition to raise the most money, and the winner received a prize that would go in that class’s fund. The freshmen surprised everybody by blowing the other grades out of the water as they raised $1,100.
The dance marathon committee has resolved to continue its campaign into January, when it will put on a fundraiser called a “Pink Out” during a home basketball game. The event will be Jan. 25 and will feature an Italian dinner. It will be a joint fundraiser with the Relay for Life.
Johanna Vittetoe and Jacqueline Spenner are seniors who have been involved in dance marathon for four years. They said they’re going to miss dance marathon after they graduate but are confident that the underclassmen can fill the void.
Spenner said she has a few family members who have suffered from cancer and that was why she got involved in raising money for the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital.
Vittetoe said she became involved in the dance marathon after watching her older siblings organize it for years. In ninth grade, Vittetoe even got to go to the University of Iowa’s dance marathon because her sister was co-chair of the university event.
“They won’t let you sit down there,” she said. “You can’t believe the amount of energy going through that place.”
Vittetoe and Spenner said the bulk of the fundraising comes from businesses. The dance marathon committee started soliciting funds for the dance marathon last summer.
The committee wanted to focus more on raising money within the school. The committee made “pledge sheets,” which indicated on a thermometer how much money each class had raised. As a class raised money, its thermometer was colored in.
This year, the variety show was preceded by a pasta dinner. Cindy Kennedy and Tammie Schultz prepared the pasta and received help from volunteers such as Trish Bohr, Teresa Hora, Yota Giardino, Joan Hippen, Susan Wellington and Deb and Jerry Vittetoe.