VERNON TOWNSHIP, NJ --- Despite the conditions which Hurricane Sandy had left millions of New Jersey residents, the overall theme for this event was, "The show Must Go On."
Three hundred tickets were sold for the twelfth annual “Dance With The Stars” Foundation Ball held on November 3 at the Red Tail Lodge at Mountain Creek.
The Foundation Ball is the single largest fundraiser to support scholarships for Sussex County Community College students.
Barbara Wortmann, head coordinator of the event, is also the Executive Director of the Sussex County Community College Foundation, and Performing Arts Center.
Wortmann raises money through events, such as this one, for scholarship purposes.
Lorine Kicak, another event coordinator stated, “I am very happy that the show is going on despite the recent hurricane. Some people are just happy to get out of the house.”
The event kicked off at 6 p.m. in a 1930's type setting with crowds of women elegantly dressed with their male partners by their sides. There were cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, dancing, a silent auction, wine auction, and music by Silvermoon.
This year's ball, also known as the finale, had featured five “celebrity” couples, all competing for the mirror ball trophy.
The dance competition couples included Dawn Hall and Sean Hyland; Lexi and Mike Richards; Sarah Roskowsky and Vito Giannola; Jan and Mike Keefer; and Amanda Kirchoff and Luke Gomez.
These five couples partook in dance lessons over the past couple of months with professional dance instructor, David Cross.
All competed in front of three judges: Bob Dunphy of Clear Channel Communications, Jerry Morelli of Mugs Media, and Melissa Estock, former SCCC student, now with WMBC TV.
The announcers for the event were Gary Cee, WNNJ Afternoon host and Clear Channel Tri-state Director of Operations, and Maria Marino, Media Director of Mountain Creek Resort.
“I am so happy to be here as a former student of Sussex County Community College,” said Marino as she introduced herself to the crowd.
The first dance competition at 7 p.m. was the Waltz.
A demonstration dance was held by Orlando and Aurora Cordero, professional dance couple. Another was performed by Ray and Pam Cordts, winner of the 2010 mirror ball trophy.
“The Waltz is the oldest of all ballroom dances,” stated Cross. “All of the contestants were not dancers at first and they have all worked really hard.”
The contestants were then judged based on how well they had danced.
A break was taken as dinner was being served, in that moment, Wortmann was introduced to the crowd of guests.
“This is an amazing important night for the students,” said Wortmann. “There are several students here tonight volunteering and it is about them. These scholarships give them the potential they need. Thank you everyone for being here tonight.”
Wortmann had asked the staff to come forward, and thanked all of them.
“We could not have done this without our marketing department, business office and facilities. I want to thank our amazing students. It takes a village to run an event like this and it is all because of our staff,” said Wortmann.
Other messages were from Dr. Paul Mazur, President of Sussex County Community College, and Chuck Roberts, President and CEO of Ames Corporation, and Foundation Chairman.
Other notable people had attended the event as well. Bob Nicholson, founder and owner of Eastern Propane sat at at table, with wife Shirley.
Nicholson discussed his entrepreneur skills, and his desire in helping the younger generation achieve goals for the future.
“I purchased this table, but most could not attend because of weather circumstances,” stated Nicholson.
The tango was the next act of the dance competition.
“The tango originated in Argentina, then to France, then the social American version which we have today,” said Cross. “What the contestants will be doing tonight is a bronze level tango.”
The contestants dressed “sexy," and put on a very seductive dance.
The judges had all agreed that Kirchoff and Gomez, the only student couple from SCCC, had “Really nailed it.”
Guests voted on the contestants by putting raffle tickets in jars in front of each couples picture on a table. The more tickets each person put in, the better advantage they had of winning a $500 gift certificate to J. Thomas Jewelers.
Kirchoff and Gomez came in as the first runner-up.
Roskowsky and Giannola were voted as the winners of the 2012 mirror ball trophy.
In 2011, the “Dance with the Stars” event had raised over $100,000 for student scholarships.