WADESBORO — The Toys for Tots “Christmas in July” fundraiser was held 6:30 p.m. June 29 at Lockhart Taylor Center as a senior prom.
The theme of the event was “An Evening in Paris,” and attendees gathered from all over North and South Carolina.
Coordinator Vancine Sturdivant said she was truly surprised by the outpouring of participation and support she received from citizens not living in Anson County.
She also said her reason for hosting a senior prom was because she and her spouse never got to share the “prom moment” together. Although they chaperoned the high school senior proms, they never went as youth.
“I began to ask different couples if they attended senior prom with their partner and the answer would always be no,” Sturdivant said. “I felt this would be a great way to bring all these fantastic couples together, to get dressed in their gowns and tuxedos, look their soul mates in the eyes, and just enjoy each other.”
Each person was required to provide a song to dedicate to his or her partner. They were required to dance when deejay Leon Gatewood played the song at the prom.
As Gatewood played the requested songs, Sturdivant would call the couples to the dance floor. Everyone joined in.
Sheriff Landric Reid said he enjoyed the prom and that he had not danced that much all his life.
Sturdivant said one of the highlights of the night was the dancing of Carl and Carol Gibson.
Participants at the prom ranged in age from late 20s to their late 80s.
Those in their late 80s, deemed the “Golden Girls,” were seated at a special table. Garletha Pratt arranged for them to attend the prom.
“The ladies truly enjoyed themselves, especially watching me dance and change outfits,” Sturdivant said.
Magistrate Weaver Thomas went to the “Golden Girls” and asked them to dance.
Sturdivant reminded the attendees that they were all special guests.
Those in attendance included Sen. Tom McInnis and wife; Rep. Mark Brody and wife; Senate candidate Helen P. Mills and husband; Richmond County Superior Court Clerk Vickie Daniels and attorney John Daniels; District Court Judge Sophia Gatewood-Crawford and guest; Polkton Mayor Minnie Staton and guest; and Elissa Michelle Sturdivant, of Indian Trials, and guest.
“Daniels and I work closely together to support Toys for Tots in Anson and Richmond County,” Sturdivant said.
District Court Judge Amanda Wilson was present and gave a donation. The Judge Christopher Rhue was there long enough to bring his generous donation.
Photographer Ronnie Bennett was on site to capture every moment of the event and everyone could order pictures or get a photo that night.
Decorations were done by Carolyn Hillard, of Wadesboro.
Charleen Perhealth, owner of Momma’s Kitchen on Airport Road in Rockingham, catered the meal of heavy hors d’oeuvres.
Sturdivant said a “special thank you” goes out to South Piedmont Community College and Ann Teal, who always works and supports every event given for Toys for Tots.
“It is because of great supporters we, the executive board, are able to do the things we do for the less fortunate families of Anson County,” Sturdivant said. “The first senior prom, but not the last, was a success. Bam!”
Door prizes and gifts were awarded.
The top ticket sellers were Sturdivant and Barbara Thomas in Anson County, and Elissa Sturdivant in Union County.
The first ticket was purchased by Lisa Talley from Richmond County; best dressed was presented to Johnny Jackson from Union County; and most helpful was presented to Ann Teal from SPCC and Anson County clerk to the commissioners, Denise Cannon.
“We have already begun collaborating on next year’s senior prom,” Sturdivant said. “The staff at the Anson County Courthouse has come on board and chose the theme for next year, ‘Hollywood.’”
Sturdivant said that the journey to Hollywood will include a walk on the famous “Red Carpet” and everyone will be allowed to purchase a star on Hollywood Boulevard.
Vancine said one of the stars she will come as is the great Patti Labelle, who is known for her great performances and rolling on the floor.
“If I roll on the floor, someone will have to get me up,” Sturdivant said. “But I truly do a great karaoke of Patti Labelle.”
"Golden Girls" enjoy the 2018 Toys for Tots Senior Prom.