PTO introduces 'hop' to kids, parents
November 6, 2012
By Sgt. 1st Class Jeff Troth
CAMP CASEY, South Korea -- Most parties that take place at the end of October normally have zombies, witches and vampires walking around. But, for the party held at the Gateway Club Oct. 26, 1950s-style poodle skirts, Pink Ladies and Thunderbirds were the norm.
The Casey Elementary School Parent-Teacher Organization decided to put a different twist on their October party and hold a 50s-style sock hop.
Sock hops were informal high school dances common during the 50s era, and closely associated with rock-n-roll music. The term came about because the dancers typically removed their shoes to protect the school floors.
"My whole family came dressed for the 50s," said 10-year-old Elizabeth Woods, who wore a pink poodle skirt. "My dad was in his leather jacket and jeans, and mom dressed up and my mom dressed like me."
Woods said her mom is a big fan of John Travolta's 1978 movie "Grease," so she knew what to expect for the night.
Her mother was outfitted with a Pink Ladies satin jacket, while her dad, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jacob Woods of Company C, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, sported a leather jacket with the Thunderbirds across the back.
But not everyone knew what was meant when the kids came home and told their parents that the school was putting on a "sock hop."
"When they told me I said 'What is that? I have never heard of it,'" said Olivia Arriaga, whose husband is 1st Lt. Vicencio Arriaga of Company E, 2nd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment. "I am 30 and have never been to one," she said. "I even had to research on what we were supposed to wear, since I had no idea."
Arriaga wasn't the only one who had something to learn about sock hops.
"A lot of the kids were asking about what type of music, dancing and activities they had back in the 50s," said Tracey Stockdale, a 1st grade teacher at Casey Elementary School. "So we watched a lot of YouTube videos so that the kids could see what a sock hop was."
The children spent the night dancing to songs such as Elvis Presley's "Don't be Cruel" and Dale Hawkins' "Susie Q." But there were also three competitions set up by age category.
"I entered the costume, hula hoop and twist contests," said Woods. "I didn't win any but I did okay, and I had fun doing it"
Fifth-grader Taya Goode came close to winning the hula hoop competition but dropped her hoop too soon.
"The hula-hooping was very fun," said Goode, daughter of Sgt. 1st Class Mark Goode, of 1st Battalion, 38th Field Artillery Regiment. "It was really nice to dress up. I have been a 50s' girl before."
"We put on this event as an appreciation for our military families," said Stockdale. "Teachers work with some of the greatest kids in the world, military children, and we wanted to give the families something to come out and enjoy," she said.
"I think the kids had a great time," she said. "I saw a lot of smiles on their faces. The hop was something that most of these kids have never been to. It was exciting to see all the parents and kids get into it. It will be one of those magical moments that they will have forever."