The Westmoreland grade school puts a sweet twist on a traditional grade-school dance concept

DAVID F. ASHTON - Dancing the evening away, at the Llewellyn Small Tall Ball, were Nate and Linnea Wall. Many area schools hold Valentine's Day activities; but for the past four years Llewellyn Elementary School in Westmoreland has distinguished itself by holdling a "Valentine's Ball" on the Friday evening before the special day, which this year was February 9.

After leading a lively conga line snaking through the gym, hallway, and cafetorium, one of the originators of the ball – parent volunteer Bryan Buck – spoke with THE BEE after catching his breath.

"Our event is based on the idea of holding a 'Father-Daughter Ball'; but, instead of limiting participation by gender, we came up with an even more inclusive event, where one of the "talls" – the parent – could have a fun evening with their "small", a student here at Llewellyn – and came up with the name, the 'Small Tall Ball'," Buck recalled.

"In addition to it's being a fun family-oriented dance, it's also become a successful fundraiser to help subsidize fourth grade and fifth grade overnight field trips," he said.

The size of this school activity has grown by leaps and bounds over the years. "And, many parents choose to make this a very special evening by taking their child out for dinner before the ball – or dessert after," Buck pointed out.

The dance comes about thanks to the dedication of the two-and-a-half-dozen volunteers who put the event on. That includes staging items weeks in advance, to decorating during the afternoon prior to the event, and helping out that evening. "We really appreciate all of our volunteers' help; there are a lot of hands to help make this work light," he remarked.

By the end of the evening, the ball had raised about $2,000. And, added Buck, "I love helping create something where kids can have a great time."

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