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    May 04, 2019

    WINTERHAVEN — In planning where to host its annual Dancing with the Stars Gala, Imperial Valley Regional Occupational Program Community Foundation took a chance at hosting it at the Quechan Casino Resort here.

    While it did serve for a nice change of venue from its typical locations, such as St. Mary’s Church in El Centro and Barbara Worth Country Club in Holtville, doing so would force its usual Imperial Valley attendees to make a nearly hour-long drive.

    “We usually max out every year, but we didn’t know exactly how it was going to go,” IVROP Superintendent Edwin Obergfell said.

    Nonetheless, the Valley showed its support can remain strong even at the edge of its county borders, as the 12th annual DWTS Gala on Friday night sold out its more than 500 guest tickets.

    Although the event continues to be the “go-to event in the Valley that everyone wants to get dressed up to,” Obergfell explained, it serves a greater purpose than just being a night for glitz and glam.
    Each year, seven community members volunteer themselves and their dancing skills — honed or not — to perform an about two-minute dance routine with an instructor in front of guests and judges.

    While there is definitely pride in walking off the dance floor with the Judges’ Choice or Peoples’ Choice awards, contestants generally make the sacrifice to participate in order to support the event’s cause: To raise money for scholarships for Valley students.
    The Gala hit a new high this year, as it will be giving away 21 scholarships — more than $14,500 worth — compared to its usual 15 scholarships. Additionally, nine scholarships totaling $5,500, which is another all-time high, will be given to local student leadership organizations.
    The announcement of the winning dance teams ran past deadline Friday night.

    Vincent Osuna, Staff Writer-I.V. Press