Papas and Princesses

At center, Addison Burns, a Lawson Elementary Schools second-grader, dances with her fellow Lawson students (from left) Chloe Hughey, Laurel Burns and Tianna James at Sunday's Papa and Princess Dance.

At center, Addison Burns, a Lawson Elementary Schools second-grader, dances with her fellow Lawson students (from left) Chloe Hughey, Laurel Burns and Tianna James at Sunday's Papa and Princess Dance. Photo by Gerry Tritz.

Rand Swanigan’s kids are all grown up, so he jumped at the chance to take a friend’s daughter to the Papa and Princess Dance on Sunday.

He escorted Lawson Elementary second-grader Jessica Logaglio, who got her finger nails painted pink and purple — her favorite colors — before hitting the dance floor.

“Her mother is a real good friend” from First Baptist Church, Swanigan said. “She (Jessica) has no father in her home, so it gave her an opportunity she wouldn’t have had otherwise. And I thought it was a great opportunity to spend some time with Jessica.”

After a successful pilot dance at Belair Elementary last year, the dance was the school district’s first districtwide father-daughter dance. It was a chance for girls from kindergarten through fifthgrade to take Dad, grandpa or another special man in their lives to a dance.

But it was more than just a dance. The girls got to dress up, get their hair done and have their nails painted. At one craft station, the girls and the adults wrote notes to each other. At another, they created picture frames for the professional photos that would be taken of them. There were also snacks.

Many of the girls apparently forgot who brought them to the dance, as they spurned their dads on the dance floor in favor of dancing with friends. But the dads didn’t seem to mind, and several said they wouldn’t miss it for anything.

Several hundred mostly fathers and daughters packed into the Thomas Jefferson Middle School cafeteria for the event, which was open to half of the city’s public elementary schools. The other half will be served by a similar event on April 9, said Karen Enloe, executive director of the sponsoring Jefferson City Public Schools Foundation.

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