Redefining the Classroom

Second Dancing with the Stars brings LSSU, community together to support Hospice

Posted: October 13th, 2012

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – Tickets are going fast as dancers polish their routines in the days leading up to the second annual Dancing with the Stars fundraiser to benefit Hospice House in Sault Ste. Marie, and LSSU faculty, staff and students are featured prominently in this year's program.

The event will see eight couples in a friendly competition for the coveted Mirror Ball Trophy on October 19 at Kewadin Casino's DreamMakers Theatre. Doors open at 7 p.m. with appetizers and a cash bar, and performances begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25, entitling the bearer to one vote for his or her favorite couple. They are available from the DreamMakers Theatre box office by calling 906-635-4917.

LSSU Engineering Professor Paul Weber and his wife Emily are among the contestants, as are LSSU students Katherine Drockton, an elementary education major from Sault Ste. Marie, and Jacob Brushaber, a psychology major from Harbor Springs. Other dancers with Laker connections are alumna Dulcey Garber, who is dancing with Taffy Abel Arena announcer and Sovereign Broadcasting personality Tim Ellis, human services alumna Becky Mills '02, business alumna Jodi Bosbous '03, business alumna Abby (Cherry) Baker '05 and her husband, nursing alumnus Chris Baker '10, and nursing graduate Jessica Jannetta '08 and her husband, paramedic graduate Nick Jannetta '04.

DRESS REHEARSAL -- Dancers who are competing in the second Dancing with the Stars fundraiser for Hospice of the EUP's Hospice House gathered for dress rehearsal recently at Kewadin Casino's DreamMakers Theatre. Pictured here are Lake Superior State University students Katherine Drockton of Sault Ste. Marie and Jacob Brushaber of Harbor Springs, at left, and LSSU Engineering Prof. Paul Weber and his wife and dancing partner Emily. The two couples will be competing with six others who have been rehearsing for weeks for the event, which will be held at 7 p.m. on Oct. 19. (Photo by Emily Jones)

The LSSU connection continues, as Prof. Deborah Choszczyk instructed several of the couples, and Prof. Deb McPherson, who taught dance classes at LSSU for many years, will be one of three judges for the event.

"I'm excited about this year's group of dancers," said Mary Jo DuVall volunteer coordinator for Hospice of the EUP, organizer of Dancing with the Stars, and 1987 LSSU alumna. "There are going to be a lot of high-energy performances. The dancers have put in a lot of off-stage time as well, by participating in events within the community to help bring awareness to Hospice of the EUP, as well as publicizing the event and raising funds."

In addition to the LSSU dancers, the cast includes: Mark Kavanaugh, Jessica and Nick Janetta, Martina and Mike Vollman and Joe Sbar.

The couples chose their own dances and music, assisted by several dance instructors in the community, including Kari Lustig of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., Ashley Corbiere, director of Allure Dance Company in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., and Choszczyk.

Judging with McPherson are Sault Area High School Pom Squad Coach Deb Gardner and State Representative Frank Foster, who danced in last year's competition. The judges' marks will count for 50 percent of the dancers' scores; the audience votes will account for the other half. The couples are also competing for the People's Choice Award, which is determined by online voting. Online voting, at $10 per vote, continues until midnight on Oct. 18 at EUP Home Health Hospice.

Last year's event, which also included several LSSU alumni, raised $17,000 for Hospice House, a home-environment-style facility that offers families a safe and caring environment for their loved ones to spend their final days. The 8,400 sq. ft. facility, which opened in August, features five patient beds, a sun room, chapel, family room, space for individual and grief support, and office space for Hospice of the EUP. All services are provided free of charge.

"Last fall's Dancing with the Stars was the beginning of a huge outpouring of support from the community for Hospice House," said Tracey Holt, director of Hospice of the EUP and another LSSU alumna. "There have been so many businesses and individuals in the community donating toward this worthwhile cause – from bake sales to special events and outright donations of materials, supplies and labor."

Holt noted that Hospice still needs to raise $230,000 to pay for the $893,000 building. More funds are needed for operations and more volunteers are needed for the expanded services provided by Hospice House.

Dancing with the Stars is sponsored by Riverside Medical Associates, Soo Co-op Credit Union, Madigan Pingatore Insurance, War Memorial Hospital, Freighterview Assisted Living and Kewadin Casinos. For more information, or to add your name to the list of sponsors and volunteers, contact DuVall at 906-259-0222. -LSSU-

CONTACT: Tom Pink, 906-635-2315,; John Shibley, 635-2314,; Mary Jo Duvall, Hospice of the EUP, 906-259-0222,