SHOREWOOD – Dressed his in best blue plaid shirt, tan bandana and brown and white hat, Brody Schutter of Shorewood took on a true cowboy persona.
He sat with his mom, Jami Schutter and older brother Ben Schutter, also dressed as if they lived in the west, as he carefully assembled a new decoration for his house.
“I’m making a hanger of a cowboy with a star on his hat. Maybe I will hang it on my bedroom door,” Brody said.
The Schutter’s along with 300 other people from Troy School District 30-C’s Troy Craughwell Elementary School gathered Oct. 15 at the “Dudes and Dames” mother and son barn dance. The school has hosted this mother and son dance for the past five years, with each year being a different theme.
“These nights are important because parents spend quality time with their child. With busy schedules these days, I think family time is often lost,” Troy Craughwell Principal Kathy Barker said.
Upon entering the school, mothers and sons were given bandanas and a chance to have their picture taken by special education teacher Mary Pat Mayo in front of a faux wooden backdrop.
Joy Lukancic of Joliet attended the event last year with two of her sons, but with the older one no longer at the school, she was thankful to have made memories with her son Daniel this year.
“We are so lucky that the school hosts these dances,” Joy Lukancic said after their night was captured on camera. “It’s nice to have one on one time with Daniel.”
The night included a cupcake walk, a dance in the gym, crafts in the art room and popcorn snacks in the cafeteria.
One of the busiest activities was the cupcake walk, because, as Deven Triplett said, “I get to earn a cupcake!” Teachers played Halloween music such as “Monster Mash” as little feet walked over paper pumpkins taped to the floor with numbers from one to 20. As the music ended, each boy scrambled to make sure he was on a spot.
Next door, every seat was occupied in the art room as stickers were peeled and placed onto the brown cowboy foam door hangers. Then they were all lined up on a table until it was time to leave.
“I love this. It’s so good to get to hang out with my boys and see their friends I only get to hear about,” Jami Schutter said. “This cowboy theme is my favorite of the themes so far, it was fun to get into.”
Toward the middle of the evening, the beats from the gym brought the sons as well as mothers to the dance floor. A good mix of dance music and country played, while a disco ball spun lights across the room.
Troy Craughwell first-grade teacher Jen Mialkowski and her son Camden, joined the dancers where Camden showed off his break-dance moves to “What Does the Fox Say” by Ylvis, and even slow danced with his mom to “I Swear” by John Michael Montgomery.
“I like to be with my mom because I like to do all sorts of stuff with her,” Camden Mialkowski said.
According to Barker, a McDonald’s restaurant in Shorewood hosted a fundraiser night for the school. Dads could take their daughters or other children to dinner and a percentage of the proceeds benefited the school.