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St. Mary School invites parents for square dancing

DeKALB – Instead of Catholic school uniforms, most of the students and teachers at St. Mary School in DeKalb wore cowboy hats, flannel shirts and jeans Friday.

They had a good, old-fashioned hoedown.

For the past two weeks, physical education teacher Colleen Tumminaro has been teaching the students how to do-si-do and line dance as a part of their square dancing lessons. Friday was the culmination of their efforts; parents and grandparents could watch or dance with their students.

“This requires so much cooperation and coordination that if they don’t do their job, nobody else’s job is done,” Tumminaro said.

Like the students, some parents dressed for the part. Al Saucedo came out Friday with his wife, Julie, to dance with their daughter, Maria, a fourth-grader.

“She told me last night I had to come out and be her partner,” Saucedo said. “I am really surprised by how much she liked [square dancing].”

Saucedo showed up in his red flannel shirt and cowboy hat, which he bought on vacation with his family in South Dakota.

“We had all the gear, and we haven’t been able to use it until now,” Saucedo said.

Tyson Shelley also looked like a cowboy while dancing with his daughter, Kennedy. In addition to his brown jacket and cowboy hat, Shelley completed the look with aviator sunglasses and a toothpick.

“It’s kind of fun because I am certainly not a cowboy,” Shelley said. “I had the chance to embarrass our daughter just a little bit and still have fun and keep her smiling and teach me to dance a little bit.”

Tumminaro said square dancing had originally started as a joke.

“It was just something I had been teasing the kids about, saying, ‘You know if you don’t behave, we’re going to do some square dancing,’ ” Tumminaro said. “And they would grumble and groan, and I thought: ‘You know, why not? It’s fun, what the heck?’ ”

Tumminaro was exhausted after a day of walking the students, teachers and parents through the different aspects of square dancing. She said she was glad to do something in gym that wasn’t competitive.

“I’m really proud of all of the students,” Tumminaro said. “They really did a nice job today.”

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