Dancing with the High Point Stars brought a few novel moves to its 11th annual installment Saturday night.

Because of the ongoing pandemic, the signature fundraiser for Communities in Schools of High Point included video introductions of its 10 community member dancers rather than the previous method of passing a microphone for people to introduce themselves.

Dancers and their professional partners also wore face masks and were given the option to choose a touchless dance, a normal full-touch dance or a hybrid, said Tommy C. Walls Jr., executive director of CIS. Temperature checks and hand sanitizing were among the safety measures practiced over the past few weeks along with dance routines.

“We tried to take all precautions as much as possible with this event,” Walls said.

The event was livestreamed.

In another new move, the Rev. Frank Thomas and Martha Yarborough were both awarded the Shooting Star award.

Yarborough, who taught in the CIS program from 1990-96, spoke in support of the nationally accredited dropout prevention program. She said the pandemic is having a negative effect on all education and added “this population is probably more impacted than many others.”

Thomas agreed supporting CIS is critical.

“Even during times like these, we all need to find creative ways to help our children/students in any way we can,” he said.

Other winners Saturday night were:

• Top Fundraiser: Mary Bogest

• Best Costume: Connor Harris

• Best Performance: Sarah Stevenson

Stevenson, a communications specialist for the city of High Point, recalled the advice of a former High Point University professor who told her education can never be taken away.

“The mission of CIS is to help students stay in school so they can achieve in life,” Stevenson said. “Right now, because of these unusual times, helping kids stay in school means ensuring students have access to basics like food, toiletries, internet, as well as academic and emotional support. CIS recognizes this deep need and is committed to aiding our local students in these areas so that they, too, can receive an education that can never be taken away from them.”

cingram@hpenews.com | 336-888-3534 | @HPEcinde

cingram@hpenews.com | 336-888-3534 | @HPEcinde