Students take to stage for annual ‘Steppin’ Out’

Published 10:24 pm Sunday, March 26, 2017

Some of Beaufort County’s finest performers showed off their skills Friday night as part of the annual Beaufort County Schools “Steppin’ Out” event.

Students representing 12 schools, from elementary to high school, took to the stage to perform at Washington High School’s Performing Arts Center.

The center was packed, with at least 1,000 audience members, according to Ashley Padgett, BCS director of secondary curriculum.

Preparations for “Steppin’ Out” begin about a year in advance — from booking the arts center, to submitting performance ideas to principals, to determining equipment needed and holding dress rehearsals.

Padgett said Tuesday and Wednesday of last week involved “technical” rehearsals to work out the equipment and get to know the performing stage. Thursday served as the dress rehearsal before the big performance Friday.

“Those teachers work so hard with those kids. The teachers are champs, and they’re positive,” Padgett said. “(The students) were just so thrilled and excited to perform.”

“Steppin’ Out” is sponsored by the Beaufort County Education Foundation, which puts the proceeds toward Partners in Education grants for teachers to use in their classrooms, according to Padgett. National Honor Society students also volunteer at the event.

“Each school has at least $200 … to cover subs, or they can use for whatever they need for ‘Steppin’ Out,’” she said. “It’s a lot of people who are really good at what they do.”

WITN Sports Director Billy Weaver served as the evening’s emcee, and Northside High School’s jazz band gave an encore performance as Director’s Choice. Art students created the “Steppin’ Out” logo.

Padgett said there are a lot of volunteers who make the event a reality, and people look forward to it every year.

The hard work and students’ self-confidence on stage also represent how important the arts are to a child’s education, Padgett said.

“We love it. It’s valuable. It’s a good way to show kids that,” she said.