Not all Valentine sweethearts are boyfriends or husbands.
The Parent-Teacher Organization will hold its fifth annual Sweetheart Dance, a festive night for the elementary school's female students in grades K to 5 and their fathers or another special man in their lives.
Since the school's Sweetheart Dance began in 2007, approximately 80 to 85 percent of the girl students at the school have attended, according to Patty Vollmar, one of the event's organizers.
"Because we are aware that not all girls live in a traditional home setting, we offer the girls to bring a 'special man in their life' as their date," Vollmar said. "We have had girls arriving with brothers, grandfathers, and of course Dads," she said. Students will attend this year's dance at the school on Friday evening, Feb. 10.
"LCS started the Sweetheart Dance as an annual event, along with a complementary event called the Mother/Son bowling night," Vollmar said. The bowling night also has continued through subsequent years, she said.
The “party attire” gala evening, especially for Liberty Corner students, will include finger foods, sweetheart-themed desserts, a craft keepsake for each girl, a special photograph for all girls with their guest, games and entertainment, and a DJ with grade level spotlight dances, said event organizer Patty Vollmar
The school's PTO has reached out to support community organizations, and is planning the evening in cooperation with the Community-based Life Skills Program and the Food Bank Network of Somerset County.
The vegetable platters for the party will be made by the Ridge Life Skills program as part of a real life-work project, Vollmar said. The program, run by the Bernards Township school district in coordination with local businesses and the Ridge Oak Senior Housing development, seeks to foster employment opportunities for special needs high school students in Bernards.
Part of the program is a life skills food preparation program, according to information from the school.
In addition to the partnership with the life skills programs, the Liberty Corner School is again this year cooperating with another community organization—the county food bank. Those attending the dance again are asked to bring a food donation.
"The declining economy has caused a reduction in food donations," Vollmar said. In addition, the proceeds from sales of Sweetheart Messages that the "dates" buy for the girls will be donated to the food bank as well.
"These donations are another way for LCS students to support their community," Vollmar said. The LCS Pride Club, a volunteer student organization at the school will be assisting with preparations to accept the food for the Somerset County food bank. "Liberty Corner School is proud to be part of a caring community," Vollmar said.