July 31, 2023

Lindsey Blaise Dances Her Way to the Mirrorball Trophy

3.6 min read| Published On: July 31st, 2023|

By Cindy Peterson

Lindsey Blaise Dances Her Way to the Mirrorball Trophy

3.6 min read| Published On: July 31st, 2023|

The 17th annual Stepping Out for Education was full of excitement, surprises and a whole lot of energy. This two-night fundraiser for the Education Foundation of Lake County took six local celebrities and turned them into ballroom dancers, in only a few months. In the end, CEO and president of Citizens First Bank, Lindsey Blaise, walked away with the top female dancer for both nights, the top influencer award and the coveted mirrorball trophy.

Lindsey and her dance partner, Eddie Riveria, made a big splash right from the get-go when Lindsey came out on the dance floor inside a cake. Transformed into Marilyn Monroe, she won the hearts of the judges and audience members alike with her cha-cha/foxtrot. Her second dance showcased even more of her skills as she danced a jive to the iconic music of “Hairspray.”

Aside from having the best overall scores of the night, she also won the audience vote for best female dancer.

New this year was the influence award, where people could place a vote for $5, prior to the competition. In its entirety, the influencer award raised $13,445 for the foundation. Lindsey also came out on top with the most votes and money raised.

Although Lindsey walked away with the trophy, every dancer amazed the crowd. Most, if not all, of the celebrities had no previous dance experience, but you would never have known that.  The scores were very close, with no one dropping below an 8. And trust me, the judges weren’t feeling sorry for them. They were seriously incredible.

Eustis City Commissioner Willie Hawkins took the best male dancer award on Friday night and Leesburg City Manager Al Minner took the award on Saturday night. Other dancers included Erin Craig, President of Florida Operators and Controls, Amanda Nethero, Owner of New Heights Communication, and Tyler Brandeburg of Brown & Brown Insurance and Lake County Schools.

The professional dancers included Eddie Riveria, Lora Constantini, Jose “Ricky” Colon, Jailene Espinosa, Johnny Boulware and Hannah Pickard.

But at the end of it all, it’s the Lake County School teachers who will benefit from the record-breaking $84,000 raised, which will be matched with state funds. Prior to this year, the most raised was $35,000.

“We are thrilled, and exhausted,” Education Foundation Executive Director Carman Cullen-Batt says. “We nearly tripled the funds raised.”

The foundation has committed all funds raised to support the district’s new teacher mentoring program, in hopes of retaining teachers to build lasting relationships in our schools for years to come.

Check out some of the photos from the event! Watch for even more in an upcoming issue of Style.

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About the Author: Cindy Peterson

Originally from the small town of Berryville, Arkansas, Cindy has become a multimedia specialist in journalism, photography, videography and video editing.

She has a B.S. in Communications from the University of Central Arkansas and is a correspondent for The Daily Commercial, LakeFront TV and Beacon College’s PBS talk show, “A World of Difference,” where she received an Anthem Award and Telly Award.

When she isn’t working, Cindy spends time with her husband, Ryan, and son, David, traveling and taking photos of landscapes and wildlife.

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