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Sardis class pairs seniors with kids to bust a move
Clusters give students a choice of enrichment
Nine-year-old Emma England, a Sardis Enrichment School third-grader, claps her hands to the beat Oct. 24 during a line dancing lesson as part of an enrichment cluster at the Gainesville Civic Center. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Music may be the universal language, but the moves that are put to those sounds can unite generations.

As a part of their line dancing enrichment cluster, a group of Sardis Enrichment School students recently joined in the fun with the participants of the Senior Line Dance class, which is offered through the Gainesville Parks and Recreation Department.

"The seniors showed the students some of their dances, then the students had the chance to show the seniors some of the dances they’ve been working on," said Dona Shaw, who has participated in the senior class for the last four years.

"Then we did a couple of dances together. Everyone had a lot of fun.

"We learned from each other."

This is Shaw’s second year teaching dances to the Sardis cluster students.

"It’s been very rewarding for sure," Shaw said.

Although Vicky Howell is the lead teacher for the line dancing cluster, which was created last year, she needed a little help teaching the steps to the students.

After getting a reference to the senior class, which is held weekly at the Gainesville Civic Center, Howell was put in contact with Shaw.

"She has done a tremendous job. She’s been a great help to us," said Howell, a Sardis third-grade teacher.

"We’ve had some of the kids enjoy the cluster so much, that they’ve come back to do it again. My hope is that if we have enough interest for an advanced group, we could have the kids create their own dances."

Dance isn’t the only cluster offered at Sardis, which is a charter school in the Hall County Schools System. The elementary school also offers dozens of enrichment clusters with themes like "Farm Fun," "Space Camp" and "Fashion Passion."

"Students get to participate in two, enrichment clusters each year. They choose their cluster based on their interests," Howell said.

"The dance cluster is great because it lets the kids get their energy out. The clusters overall can give the kids possible career options to consider. The younger kids are just here to have fun, but as they go through the different clusters, that’s when their interests start to develop."

Each of the clusters last for eight to 10 weeks. There’s one cluster session in the fall and another one in the spring.

The students showcase what they’ve learned in their clusters at the end of the year with a "cluster extravaganza."