The Student News Site of Stratford Academy

Stratford Gazebo

The Student News Site of Stratford Academy

Stratford Gazebo

The Student News Site of Stratford Academy

Stratford Gazebo

Copelan dancing for a cure

By REGAN OLIVER, Gazebo Staff Writer

It’s close to the end of senior year and one of the busiest times for  Elizabeth Copelan.

Copelanddance (1)
Stratford senior Elizabeth Copelan and partner Clay Mote. (Photo courtesy of Ashley Copelan)

The 18-year-old Stratford student is playing her last season of tennis, working on her Senior Project, and spending time with friends and family before graduation.

In the fall, she will head off to Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas for college. She also has made time into her busy schedule to participate in Dancing Stars of Central Georgia.

This is a fundraising event where participants dance to raise money and awareness for the local Alzheimer’s Association. More than 5.3 million Americans — one every 67 seconds — have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Copelan, in some form or another, has been involved with this event since 2012, the year after it started. Her mother, Mrs. Ashley Copelan, and father, Mr. Dean Copelan, have both danced for this event and so have five of her cousins.

She said her family has always told her, “You’ll be dancing up there in a few years. I always kinda laughed and brushed it off but here we are.”

Copelan is the youngest dancer in the competition and is very excited to carry on this family tradition. Elizabeth has decided to dance in memory of her great-grandparents, Ray and Sybil Eastburn, who passed away with Alzheimer’s.

She was able to know both her great-grandparents for almost all of her life. Copelan’s great grandmother, Sybil, passed away about two months ago.

“I was so lucky to know her for 18 years.” she said. “She was so kind and gentle, and it’s an honor to dance for her.”

Her great grandfather, Ray, passed away a few years ago but she knew him very well because the couple lived together at Carlyle Place. She shared some special memories of her great grandparents.

“They used to love to get ice cream with us and come to watch me play softball as often as they could,” Copelan said. “I was lucky to know them and I know they will be smiling down at me while I earn money to support such a wonderful cause.”

Last year the association raised over $1.9 million. Her personal donations goal was $20,000. As of May 3,   she has raised $23,031 to help the cause and is the leading fund raiser among the dancers.

Her dance partner is Clay Mote, a senior at Mercer University. They are dancing the “swing” and he is involved with many productions around the Macon Area and has dedicated his performance in honor of his grandfather.

“The music is a surprise but it’s super fast and fun,” said Copelan. “I didn’t pick it out so naturally worried I wouldn’t like it, but it turns out I love it.”

This music seems to really match Elizabeth’s personality- fun, outgoing, happy, and with her loving it.

Copelan and Mote practice about once a week for more than two hours. She said everything in the dance is difficult to learn when you aren’t a dancer. With no doubt the duo will have the choreograph down by showtime.

“Overall I love practicing,” she said. “It’s a great workout and keeps me busy.”

Copelan is definitely going to be busy on show day. Saturday morning, she will be playing in the state tennis match in Clayton County at 8:45 a.m. Her day is going to start bright and early and will end late that night after her performance. 

She said she had to learn to juggle everything going on in her life. “It’s a lot at times but in a good way,” she said. “I enjoy having something to do all the time. It is almost next to impossible to focus in school, though. Senioritis is so real and I always thought it was made up but it’s definitely not.”

It was recently announced celebrity chef Paula Deen will be one of the judges.

“I’m super excited she’s coming in town. She’s such a sweet lady and I think she will make the event even more popular which is great” said Copelan.

The “Dancing Stars of Central Georgia” is on May 7 at the City Auditorium. Dinner is at 7 p.m. The performance is at 8.

Click here to vote for Elizabeth and to make a contribution.

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Copelan dancing for a cure