By Curt Yeomans
An organizer of the first-ever Clayton County Public Schools Step Show and College Awareness Fest said the event, which will be held this weekend, could draw a turnout numbering in the thousands, based on ticket-sales reports he has received from principals.
The event will feature a college fair and several Clayton County schools competing in a step competition. It will be held on Saturday, from 10 a.m., to 4 p.m., at Charles R. Drew High School, which is located at 6327 Garden Walk Blvd., in Riverdale.
Admission is $3 for everyone except high school juniors, who will be admitted free, if they present their school identification. Tickets for the event can be purchased at any Clayton County school today and Friday, or at the event on Saturday.
"I've been talking to principals about how tickets sales have been going, and the schools had either sold out, or nearly sold out their allotment of tickets," said Lee Buddy, a third-grade teacher a Martin Luther King, Jr., Elementary School, and one of the organizers for this weekend's event. "Each school had an allotment of 40 to 50 tickets to sell. So, when you think about it, across 60 schools, that's a lot of tickets."
Based on Buddy's figures, if each Clayton County school sells its allotment of tickets before Saturday, it means as many as 3,000 people can be expected to attend the Step Show and College Awareness Fest. That figure is not including people who can buy tickets at the door on the day of the event.
"It's going to be big," Buddy said.
The event is a fund-raiser for the school system's Superintendent's Scholarship Fund, according to Buddy. School System Spokesman Charles White said district officials are still finalizing which Clayton students will be eligible for the scholarships, and how, specifically, the scholarships can be used.
The college fair portion of the event is scheduled to last from 10 a.m., to noon. According to the school system's web site, there will be 27 colleges participating in the fair. That list is highlighted by two military academies, the U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.
Other participating schools include: Andrew College; Atlanta Christian College; Atlanta Metro College; Auburn University; Augusta State University; Brenau University; Brown Mackie College; Clark Atlanta University; Clayton State University; The College of Coastal Georgia; Columbus State University; DeKalb Technical College; Georgia Gwinnett College; Georgia Military College; Georgia Perimeter College; Georgia Southwestern State University; LaGrange College; North Georgia College and State University; Oglethorpe University; Shorter College; Spelman College; Southern Catholic College; Stillman College; the University of Alabama-Huntsville, and Valdosta Technical College.
"The school system has always pushed high school students to pursue a college education," Buddy said. "The superintendent wanted to bring the colleges all to one event where students could find out information about how to get into college."
A drum line showcase, featuring the drum lines from North Clayton and Morrow high schools, will take place from noon to 1 p.m. The step show will then run from 1 p.m., to 4 p.m. Buddy said hip-hop music artist Romeo is scheduled to be the master of ceremonies for the drum-line performances and the step show.
The step show will include performances by six elementary schools, five middle schools, and four high schools, according to the school system's web site. The participating elementary schools include: Brown; Church Street; Jackson; River's Edge; Riverdale, and Roberta T. Smith elementary schools. The participating middle schools include: Lovejoy; Pointe South; Rex Mill; Riverdale, and Sequoyah middle schools.
The participating high schools include: Jonesboro; Lovejoy; North Clayton, and Riverdale high schools.
The first-place teams in the elementary division, and the middle and high school division will receive a "Superintendent's Cup" trophy that can be displayed in the winning team's school for the next year, Buddy said. He said the second-place teams in both divisions will receive trophies as well.
But, he added, a bigger prize awaits the top winners in each division. "The first-place team in the middle and high school division will get to perform during half-time at an Atlanta Hawks game [on April 3, against the Detroit Pistons]," Buddy said. "The first-place team in the elementary school division will get to shake handss with the team members as they come onto the court at that same game."