Step out to see Steppin’ Out

Published 10:01 pm Thursday, April 11, 2013

(MONA MOORE | Daily News)

Eastern Elementary School students (from right) Harley Alligood, Rhianna Meyer and Jack Spencer join students from 12 BCS schools for the Steppin’ Out finale, “Fireworks” by Katy Perry at Thursday’s dress rehearsal. (MONA MOORE | Daily News)


John Cotton Tayloe Elementary School students Hunter Linnen, left, and Jay Norris, right, practice the Abbott and Costello comedy bit, “Who’s on First,” at Thursday’s “Steppin’ Out” dress rehearsal. (MONA MOORE | Daily News)

Joe Sizemore started an impromptu game of Simon Says on the stage of the Washington High School Performing Arts Center.
Entertaining a restless group of Eastern Elementary School cowboys as teachers fetched props was just one of the duties of the director of Steppin’ Out.
After 19 years of directing the Beaufort County Schools’ production, working with the students was not a problem for Sizemore.
“Trying to come up with a finale is the hardest part,” he said.
Twelve performances by 12 schools will end with a rendition of Katy Perry’s “Fireworks.” Northside High School’s Faith Hudnell and Haley Jones; Northeast Elementary School’s Tyasia Roberts; Bath Elementary School’s Lindsay Woolard; and Chocowinity Primary’s Zaria Cobb are featured soloists in the act.
A day before the production, schools met on stage for a dress rehearsal.
“This is the first time they’ve been together,” Sizemore said of his soloists.
Steppin’ Out is a fundraiser for the BCS Education Foundation, said the foundation’s executive director, Keri Parker.
“This is our biggest fundraiser of the year,” she said.
The foundation uses the proceeds to provide Partners in Education grants. Teachers may apply for up to $750 in education grants each year to use for supplies or special projects.
“That’s not necessarily for pencils and pens. It’s just a little extra to enhance the learning experience,” she said. “We have 40 to 50 apply every year, and try to award as many as possible.”
Parker still remembers her time on stage in a Steppin’ Out production.
“It was exciting,” she said. “I was in fourth grade. We did barbershop blues.”
Parker’s favorite part of her involvement with Steppin’ Out is seeing the faces of the students when they rehearse on stage for the first time.
“The smaller kids love getting on that stage. For a lot of them, it’s their first time,” Parker said. “They’re just like blown away and wild about it.”
For the first time, Beaufort County Early College High School students will sing, dance, play guitar and share a few powerful words in their rendition of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.”
“We have a little bit of everything this year,” Parker said.
The show typically sells out, but Parker said a few tickets are available at BCS’s central office at 321 Smaw Road in Washington. The show will be available on DVD. Pre-orders will be taken at the show. Doors open at 6:45 p.m. for the 7:30 p.m. performance.