Groton’s 2nd Annual ‘Dancing with the Stars’ Is Friday, March 8

Get in the swing of things! Groton's Dancing with the Stars is March 8 at Fitch High School. The show starts at 7.

Groton celebrities -- our very own teachers, police officers, business people and politicians -- will put on their dancing shoes Friday, March 8 to benefit the Groton Education Foundation and the Fitch Senior High School Drug- and Alcohol-Free Grad Party.

They’ll be competing on stage in their very best ballroom style for Groton’s 2nd annual "Dancing with the Stars,” a show that last year packed the Fitch Senior High School auditorium.

Doors open at 6 p.m. for the Grad Party fundraiser. The show starts at 7. This year’s emcees are Nicholas Spera, principal of the Marine Science Magnet High School, and Annie Cole, a seventh-grade science teacher at West Side Middle School.

The talented instructors at Arthur Murray in Niantic are training the local celebs for the competition. Julie Cagle, president of the Groton Education Foundation, has been interviewing the couples for brief videos that will be shown during the program. She’s impressed with what she’s seen.

“They’re in it to win,” Cagle said. “The routines are amazing and the competition is going to be fierce.”

Tickets are $15 for adults ($20 at the door) and are available at the Groton Senior Center, Sneekers Café and Bank Square Books. Groton students can buy tickets at school. They are $10 for high school students and $5 for kids who are in middle school or younger. All ticket proceeds benefit education in Groton.

The committee planning the Grad Party will be selling food (hot dogs, baked goods, chips, water and soda), and is organizing a basket bonanza. Tickets for their March 22 bingo fundraiser and sponsorships for the Pawcatuck River Duck Race will be available. All sales go toward the Grad Party.

The Groton Education Foundation hopes everyone swings over to Fitch March 8 for a fantastic night of friends, dancing and fun.

This year’s judges are:

-- Kayla Adams, owner of the HOME Wellness Center in Groton.

-- Alicia Bassett, the school psychologist at West Side and winner of Groton’s 2012 Dancing with the Stars competition (her partner was Okechuku Ekwuabu).

-- Jay Dempsey, a local surveyor and musician.

-- Okechuku (Okey) Ekwuabu, an Electric Boat engineer and winner of Groton’s 2012 Dancing with the Stars competition (his partner was Alicia Bassett).

-- Sean McKenna, assistant superintendent of the Groton schools.

Dancers are:

-- Peter Berns, a military training designer and developer for URS in Groton.

-- Laurel Berns, a paraprofessional at West Side Middle School.

-- Sandi Burns, a dispatcher with the City of Groton Police Department.

-- Melissa Buttermore, a senior clinical data manager at Client Associated Business in Niantic.

-- Sid Buttermore, retired Groton middle school teacher.

-- Linda Cady, a language arts teacher at Cutler Middle School.

-- Drew Cagle, a certified nursing assistant at Groton Regency.

-- Julie Cagle, retired teacher at Fitch and West Side middle schools.

-- Celeste Giommi Duffy, a teacher at Catherine Kolnaski Magnet School and deputy mayor of the City of Groton.

-- Edward Duffy, an advanced planner at Electric Boat.

-- John Espada, owner of Computer Drydock & More in Groton; he also is taking over management of Norm’s Diner.

-- Nina Hallissey, the speech language pathologist at S.B. Butler School.

-- Bobby Harris, a City of Groton police officer and Navy vet.

-- Megan Horst, a math teacher at the Marine Science Magnet High School.

-- Josh Reznak, a test engineer at Electric Boat.

-- Jeff Kotecki, assistant principal at West Side Middle School.

-- Ric Murallo, a seventh-grade social studies teacher at West Side Middle School.

-- Pam Porter, assistant principal at S.B. Butler Elementary School.

-- Jim Sammons, a manufacturing engineer at Electric Boat.

-- Leigh Sammons, a second-grade teacher at Catherine Kolnaski Magnet School.