With a large audience of students, family and friends, Jackson Junior High’s 6th, 7th and 8th graders moved and grooved in the Annual Swing Dance Competition, held in the JJHS gym on February 7, hosted by JJHS teacher Jon Gilliam.

Although the friendly competition is a chance for the students to have a ton of fun, it also teaches them an array of skills that they will take with them for the rest of their lives, such as basic dance steps, team work, physical fitness, coordination, and competition. 

The event saw several rounds of competition with almost all of the student body choosing to participate. Earlier in the school year, the students first learn basic swing dance steps, tricks, flips and more in a chance to compete and try to win the 1st place title as a couple. 

Mr. Dan Trainor’s talented 4th grade class from Pine Grove Elementary made a special appearance and performed their own set for the audience. 

Awards were given out for Best Dressed, Best Trick Move and the overall competition itself. First place for Best Dressed was couple Riley Sitter and Taylor Tollett; second place went to Lyra Cranford and Adriaan Cranford and third place went to Lauryn Maleske and Jake Dann. First place for Best Trick Move was Lyani Brown and Anya Root; second place went to Hannah Ousby and Cole Porto and third place was given to Joaquin Porto and Tess Himmelmann. 

Although all students put their best foot forward and did their best, three couple shined the most. Third place was awarded to Tess Himmelmann and Joaquin Porto; second place was awarded to Rhyain Vargas and Emily Tamayo and first place of the entire competition was Caira Pignataro and Ian McElfish. Caira jumped up and down in excitement and Ian’s friends rushed to him in a huddle to cheer him on and congratulate him. 

It was a genuinely fun and spirited event that all Junior High students should participate in! It brings out the best in the students and their parents should be proud.