The gymnasium at St. George School transformed into a dance floor fit for Valentine’s Day Feb. 11, as children who donned gowns and corsages were accompanied by their fathers and grandfathers for a night on the town.
The inaugural My Guy & Me dance drew a crowd of guests as it was intended to create a space where memories are made.
LaTunya Bradley, a coordinator for the festivities, greeted guests as they arrived and took to the red carpet. The inaugural event was expected to bring in 115 people, she said.
“We’ve talked about getting together with the dads and daughters and doing something special to highlight that relationship,” Bradley said. “We wanted to put this on at the Valentine’s season to make sure we honor the relationship.”
The room was equipped with all the necessities for the special occasion.
Balloons floated in the air, a dance floor was set up with a DJ that spun music and colored lights flashed. Children and their parents also waited in line for the photo booth in between bites of food and bits of conversation.
From the chicken dance and the cha-cha slide to slow dancing and the hokey-pokey, the My Guy & Me dance pulled out all the stops to provide children and their parents with an experience they won’t forget.
Bradley said the event’s importance rings true for many.
“I think it’s an opportunity for the dads or granddads or aunts or uncles to participate solely with their child,” she said. “It gives them a chance to bond and build a relationship. It’s a memorable event; it’s something that you’ll take away with you.”
Just ask George Wilson, of Matteson. He sat at a table decorated with white tablecloth watching his 11-year-old daughter, Faith Wilson, from afar as she mingled with friends.
“It’s good to actually invite us out,” Wilson said. “[I] anticipate dancing and taking pictures.”
Wilson said bonding with his daughter is important to him.
“I think that we do bond a lot, but I just think that evenings like this kind of help along with the process,” he said.
Francesco Minonne, of Tinley Park, said he’s glad he and his eight-year-old daughter, Celia Minonne, decided to step out together for an evening of fun.
“It seems like a nice social event [to] get together [and] meet some of the fathers I’ve never met,” he said. “My daughter has a good time being with her friends.”
Minonne was enjoying bites of food between bits of conversation as he sat next to his daughter.
“After working all day, weekends and nights, it’s a nice break and a nice way to introduce her to dating and what it’s like to be out socializing on a whole different level, not just going to dinner or hanging out,” he said. “She gets a chance to dress up a little bit and look nice, and [I get to] show her what a gentleman does when you go out on a date.”
Minonne said this was one event he was looking forward to attending.
“They actually sent out a flyer in my daughter’s class,” he said.
Minonne said he sees himself returning to the My Guy & Me dance if another should be hosted next year.
“So far, I think [I would come back for] the photo booth,” he said. “My daughter seems [to like] the photo booth. That would be the first part.”
Bob Bonner, also of Tinley Park, was in attendance for the Daddy Daughter Dance with his eight-year-old niece Breana. He said he enjoys seeing her involved in school activities.
“It seems like it’s fun for all the girls,” Bonner said. “They’re just running around acting crazy.”
Bonner said after learning of the event, he made it a priority to go with his niece.
“She’s new at the school,” he said. “This is her first year, we just want to be a part of all the events and be more part of the school and just take part in things and contribute.”
Bonner said he would surely return to the My Guy & Me dance if the school hosted another next year.
“I want her to have as many opportunities to meet other kids and be a part of the school [as much] as possible,” he said.