RED OAK – The place to be Saturday night was watching the performances on stage at Red Oak High School as eight instructors from different campuses did a version of “Dancing with the Stars.”

The purpose of the event, presented by Project Success, Red Oak ISD’s drug prevention program, was to crown Mr. and Ms. Red Oak for 2009.

As the students shouted loudly to support their school’s representative, the parents and other participants enjoyed a lively show that showcased the dancing and showmanship talents of the contestants.

The contestants were Cammie Wammack as “Lola” representing Eastridge Elementary, Stephanie Poe as “Miss Piggy” representing Shields Elementary, Tom Overbeek as “Rico Suave” representing Shields Elementary, Mariana Ospina as “Cinderella Dancing Diva” representing Wooden Elementary, Billy Oakley as “Dr. Julius Quincy Poindexter” representing Red Oak Intermediate, Nikki Williams as “Hanna Montana” representing Red Oak Junior High, Evelyn Jones as “Lady in Pantsuit (SOS)” representing Red Oak High School-West Campus and Jerry Richardson as “Mr. Jerry ‘The Strutter’ Richardson” representing Red Oak High School.

The contestants performed comedy and participated in beachwear and formal wear divisions. They also took parting a question and answer session.

The judges included Buddy Groom, former Major League Baseball player; Alan Hugley, Red Oak mayor; Scott Niven, ROISD superintendent; Dr. Mark Stanfill, owner of Animal Hospital of Ovilla and school board member; Jerry Watson from Jefferson Bank; Danny Humphreys, a State Farm Insurance agent; and Nickie Weyrauch, Red Oak Chamber of Commerce executive board member and All State Insurance agent.

The emcee for the evening, ROISD Police Chief Scott Lindsey, held the audience in suspense briefly before announcing the winners, Oakley and Ospina, who were crowned by Mr. and Ms. Red Oak 2008, Marty Farrell and Sarah Watson.

Oakley and Ospina will represent the city in the Founder’s Day parade.

During the competition, Jones was named Ms. Talent, Williams was named Ms. Beachwear, Ospina was named Ms. Formalwear, Poe was named Ms. Question and Answer,and Wammack was named Ms. Personality for the women. Oakley was named Mr. Talent, Richardson was named Mr. Beachwear and Overbeek was named Mr. Question and Answer for the men.

Lindsey spoke briefly about Project Success.

“We have been able to give over $80,000 to senior students. These scholarships are given to kids who are doing the right thing,” he said.

Project Success and HADDIT, another ROISD program, work together to help educate the students in grades K-12 in the district on drug education, civic pride, bullying, honesty, integrity and decision making.

Red Oak Intermediate won the trophy for having the most attendants at the event and also was recognized for having the most donated pennies from a penny drive. Red Oak Intermediate had $1,384 in pennies with Shields Elementary named the runner-up with $860. The total for the district was $3,294.47.

The penny drive, donations from sponsors and money from the raffles and food sales all benefit the Project Success scholarship fund.

“We learned with donations and all income from last night, Project Success will profit over $7,500 for drug-free ROISD students,” Lindsey reported after the event.

“This was one of the best pageants we have ever had, the contestants were outstanding and the work of the Project Success parents committee, especially event chairperson Michele Boerder, made the night a huge success. We want to thank the contestants for their commitment to support our students, as well as the wonderful judges and corporate sponsors,” he said. “This money will be used to provide scholarships to our drug free Red Oak High School seniors, and we will be adding to the $80,000 we have given over the past several years from the benefit of this pageant.”