Local stars shine bright

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Lechelle Earl, owner/editor

Local stars shine bright

Allendale East Area School teacher Kezia Feast twinkled her toes to success on the weekend, blowing the Swinging with the Stars competition off the dance floor.

The Stand Like Stone Foundation hosted the annual charity fundraiser at The Barn on Saturday night.

With 550 people attending this year’s event, the crowd danced the night away supporting their local stars, whilst also raising $139,926.83 for the foundation.

While Ms Feast won the dance competition, the People’s Choice Award for 2024 for raising the most money was won by Bec Hurst, who raised a record amount of $52,730.19.

Ms Feast partnered with dancer Andrew Lock, who said she was “amazing”.

“We both liked to keep each other very accountable, both have similar personalities – big and loud,” Ms Feast said.

“We liked to work hard but have real good fun and lots of laughs while doing it.

“Our dance crew would say we had a love hate relationship and I think that worked in our favour on the night, especially with our tango. But it is all love and I have nothing but gratitude that we got to experience this together.”

Ms Feast said being a part of SWTS was the most rewarding, joyful, special, memorable experience of her life.

“It is unlike anything I have ever done before and I think it will be a long time until anything comes close to how incredible this was for me,” she said.

“Winning is just the icing on the cake. It feels unreal to win, to be rewarded, to feel accomplished but winning was really being able to participate in SWTS, to make lifelong friends, to put on a show for my friends and family and my little girl and to have the funnest, most memorable three months with some amazing people.

“Andrew and I had a discussion one day and he said he had never made top four in SWTS, so that was our goal. I’m glad I could help get him to the top, he deserved it – he was an amazing dance partner.”

Stand Like Stone Foundation chief executive Roger Babolka was delighted with the event.

“We cannot thank our community enough for getting behind the Stars and this premier event, year after year,” he said.

“The money raised from the night, and of course the fundraising activities held by the Stars over the last few months, assists the foundation in providing a critical range of community support across this region.

“We’re so proud of our community and simply cannot thank everyone enough.”

The eight local Stars spent the past few months learning four dance routines under the tutelage of Kim Cella and Keana Soper from Hype Dance, all while raising awareness and funds for the foundation.

“Kim Cella has again choreographed the dances for the night, and I think everyone was blown away with the standard of the routines this year, with the judges finding it very difficult to decide,” Mr Babolka said.

“So much so, the judges had to select the top four dancers for the night and it got even harder to pick the final winner.

“However, a winner has to be chosen on the night, and so the Swinging with the Stars winner for 2024 was announced as Kezia Feast with dance partner Andrew Lockwood.

“We also announced the people’s choice award for 2024 for raising the most money, and this year it was won by Bec Hurst, who has done an amazing effort raising a record amount of $52,730.19.

“The support this event receives from a wide range of local businesses and individuals year after year is unbelievable and goes a long way in making the whole night the success it continues to be.”

This year’s Stars included Naracoorte High School SSO Ella Boston who raised funds for the Naracoorte & District Sub Fund; Ms Feast (Steven Noble Memorial Sub Fund); Elders stock agent Nathan McCarthy (Lucindale Area School Sub Fund); Grant High School teacher Shekinah Horsburgh (Grant High School Sub Fund); Godrik Construction and Electrical electrician Tyler Michielan (Stand Like Stone General Sub Fund); registered nurse and a farmer’s wife Ms Hurst (Poppy Crozier Memorial Sub Fund); Penola High School teacher Cory O’Connor(Penola Coonawarra Wellbeing Sub Fund); and owner of Chris Williams Painting Chris Williams (Mental Health and Wellbeing Limestone Coast Sub Fund).

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