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Editorial: Score another one for Community Ed

Dan Gulick and his preschool, four-year-old, twin daughters Audrey and Elise were just a few of the hundreds of happy campers at the recent Friday night Daddy Daughter Dance. Dan already is committed to next year's dance and said: "It was just one more perk that makes me very glad of our decision to move from the East Coast to River Falls."

One volunteer who supervised the Feb. 8 Community Education-sponsored Daddy Daughter Dance summed it up by saying: "If you need a reminder that technology hasn't consumed good parenting, this was proof. It was hard to tell who was having the most fun -- the daddies or the daughters!"

One daughter remarked that she loved having an ice cream sundae and "dancing with my daddy was the best!"

A dad liked the 1980s music that he could dig mixed in with more contemporary music for his daughter. Then he mused: "It's frightening to see my daughter grow up so quickly, knowing the next time she is dancing in the high school commons, it's not going to be with me."

Maybe that dad was rushing it, for the school district's Community Education is planning to sponsor a dance next year. By doing so it's filled a vacuum left this year when the YMCA, sponsor of the first Daddy Daughter Dance, closed shop in River Falls.

When you have almost 400 people turn out for a local event like the Daddy Daughter Dance, baby, you've hit a home run.

Aside from the big turnout, Community Ed Coordinator Monique Squire was gratified to see how many fathers were willing to spend a special night with their daughters, saying: "It strengthened relationships with dads and daughters as well as unified the community. It was great to have so many people in the building enjoying themselves."

The dance is just the latest example showing the scope and impact created when the Community Education program was added to our school district more than two years ago.

The program extends the district's educational reach to all age groups and expands use of our taxpayer-funded school buildings. It captures the essence of Superintendent Tom Westerhaus's column in the Journal: "Your Public Schools: Everybody's Business."

Squire said the next Community Education catalog will be mailed out in early April. Those seasonal class offerings run from May to August.

A sampling of upcoming classes include -- Adult Enrichment category: Long Term Care Seminar; Understanding Senior Housing Options, Bike Maintenance/ Fitness: Boxing; Yoga for Seniors 55+; Tai Chi; Zumba/ Arts and Crafts: Sock Knitting-Magic Loop Method; Furniture Painting Made Easy/ Cooking: Homemade Baby Food and Toddler Snacks; Freezer Meal Cooking; Healthy Entertaining/ Computers: Getting Started with iPads/ Youth: ACT Math Prep Class; Extreme Robotics-Robo-Sports/ Trips and Tours: Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

You'll have to wait till the April catalog is out to see the rest. But as you can already see, our Community Education program for people of all ages has no shortage of variety and learning opportunities.