Students and their families took inspiration from the American rock band Van Halen and danced the night away recently at a sold-out dance in the Longfellow New Tech Elementary School cafetorium.
PTA President Ashly Gallagher, who is the mother of two LFNT students and the administrative assistant to Artiya Nash, director of the Lake Ridge New Tech Head Start program, said she learned the importance of getting involved in her children’s education from her mother, Janet Gallagher.
“I grew up seeing my mother be involved, so that made me want to be involved,” Gallagher says. “When I started working at Head Start under former Director Sandy Sweeney, I learned how to get with parents and get them involved. It’s very important that they do, so we come up with fun things. They need parents to volunteer in the schools—it makes a huge difference when the child sees the parent in the school.”
PTA Treasurer Nicole McDaniel said she became active because of her daughter, Erriyana.
“My daughter has been here since kindergarten. She’s now in third grade and she enjoys these kinds of things,” McDaniel says. “This was a great turnout. I’m glad that so many people came out.”
Long-time Lake Ridge school district parent Ray Vargas kept the music lively and upbeat with a mix of old-school, disco, and current hits. He said being an active parent has made him a regular at school dances over the years.
“My kids are 10 to 25 years old, so I have been doing this for a while. I enjoy seeing the kids dancing and having fun,” he said.
LFNT Principal Pam Balint said the dance was exactly what the school needed.
“I want to bring the family back into the school. Not just the students, but the parents, too,” she says. “This is the way to do it, because it’s a family event.”
Any parent interested in getting involved with the Longfellow PTA should call the elementary school at 219-923-7004.
Longfellow New Tech PTA President Ashly Gallagher and her children. L to R: Kevin, Ashly and Leila.