On January 20, 2017, PALCS students, guests, and staff gathered together on both sides of the state to dance the night away at PA Leadership’s annual Snowball Dance. Two dances were held, one in the east in West Chester and one in the west in Pittsburgh. PALCS students in grades 9-12 were invited to attend along with their guests.

The Western Regional Center in Pittsburgh welcomed 17 students and guests onsite to the office where the dance took place in the School of Professional Studies center. “We transformed our student space into a winter wonderland and hopefully set the stage for a night our students will never forget. It was fantastic,” said Student Network Coordinator Mrs. Carrie Longstreth, who is in charge of planning the dances on the west. “It’s always great to see our students start the night as strangers and end the night as friends. Any chance we get to help them create high school memories is a win!” she continued.

On the eastern side of the state the Snowball Dance was held at the Meehan Center in West Chester, PA. PALCS teachers and staff welcomed 150 students and guests to the largest Snowball Dance in PALCS history. “As usual, our students were on their best behavior and danced the night away! Our students love to line dance – who knew! I would say 98% of the kids were out on the dance floor when a line dance song was played,” explained special education teacher Mrs. Deb Kulp-Woodruff, who is on the dance committee.

Thanks to the idea of social studies teacher Mr. Michael Logue, the dance on the east also featured a hot chocolate bar for the students as they were leaving the dance and venturing home in the winter weather. “It was a huge hit,” said Mrs. Kulp-Woodruff.

We spoke with new PALCS parent Sheila and her son Ethan, who is in his first year at PALCS and participates in the Center for Performing and Fine Arts (CPFA). Ethan attended the Snowball Dance in West Chester and was initially tentative. “We weren’t sure what a PALCS dance full of ‘strangers’ would be like. Ethan simply hoped there would be opportunities to meet new people, hear good music and dance. The Snowball delivered on all these areas,” said Sheila. By attending the dance, Ethan had a chance to not only spend time with some CPFA students, but also branch out and get to know other PALCS students and teachers. “We traveled 35-40 minutes to West Chester. I truly appreciated the venue that the organizers chose because it was new, convenient and fairly easy to drop off & pick up,” explained Sheila, “I think PALCS does a great job working to create a community, in spite of the challenges cyber school has in this regard,” she continued.

PALCS offers many opportunities for socialization and it is always so wonderful to get the chance to see PALCS students and families. Be on the lookout for upcoming events on the school calendar! The East and West Senior Prom is being finalized as we speak and the details will be released soon. Currently enrolled students can check the PALCSchool calendar for details, and interested families can keep looking for blog posts of our activities here on palcs.org!

We would like to offer a huge thank you to all the staff and dance committee members who put their time and effort into making these dances such a success and an enjoyable evening for the students. We would especially like to thank Mrs. Longstreth and Mrs. Kulp-Woodruff for all their hard work on organizing these wonderful dances, as well as the students and their families for sharing the evening with us and taking advantage of the opportunities to socialize with one another. We realize that PALCS families come from all around the state and it is truly wonderful to be able to meet everyone and make genuine connections!