The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

February 17, 2013

Persons of the Week: Taking steps to help charity: Westmont girls organize dance for classmates

Frank Sojak

JOHNSTOWN — Jocelyn Pawcio and Megan Rutledge took some steps recently to help their classmates and a charity.

The two held a St. Valentine’s Day dance the evening of Feb. 8 that provided a good time for more than 60 of their classmates from Westmont Hilltop Middle School and raised $75 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The dance was held at TNT Gymnastics in Richland Township.

“We decided to do this for the eighth-graders, so that they could see each other out of school and have a fun time,” Jocelyn said.

“Everyone had a great time,” she said.

One of the eighth-graders, a disc jockey by the name of Gunnar, donated his services

to provide music, Jocelyn said.

They decided to help St. Jude because one of their classmates had been a patient at the facility, she said.

Admission to the dance was $5. Proceeds that did not go toward expenses, such as food and decorations, went to St. Jude, she said.

The students appreciated the event, she said.

“At the end of the dance, they came up to us, gave us a hug, and said how much they appreciated what we had done,” Jocelyn said.

She said her parents, David and Jean Pawcio, and Megan’s parents, Chris and Patty Rutledge, were a big help.

Megan said the dance went really well.

“We wanted everyone to have a good time together,” she said about why they organized it.

She said their parents were very supportive of the event.

“At the beginning, it was a little slow, but as everyone started to dance, everyone started to laugh and have a good time,” she said.

“We saw a lot of different groups of students come together, and a lot of people who were not friends before started to become friends.”

Many parents volunteered to chaperone and many students stayed after the dance to clean up, she said.

For their efforts, Megan and Jocelyn are the Persons of the Week.

Jean Pawcio, who along with her husband owns TNT Gymnastics, said the girls organized the entire event and she and the other parents only provided guidance.

The girls decorated the facility the night before, she said.

“They had balloons everywhere,” Pawcio said.

“It was a nice event,” she said. “It was all good-hearted fun. It was wonderful.”

Chris Rutledge said the girls made the invitations to the dance and mailed them.

They did as much work as they could themselves to reduce expenses so they could donate as much as possible to St. Jude, he said.

“We’re very proud of them,” he said. “They both got together and took the initiative to put this together.”

“It was a good evening.

“The students were well-behaved and they enjoyed themselves.”

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