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RCS Empowers and artist Cassy Tully claimed the trophies but students were the big winners at the 11th annual Lakeland University Movers & Shakers Gala.

The show, which was held May 19 at the Stefanie H. Weill Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Sheboygan, raised money for Lakeland, including $50,000 for scholarships for eight Lakeland students and funding for Lakeland's new Cooperative Education program.

This year's lineup featured four community celebrity teams and four local celebrities paired with professional dancers. Each dancer and each team selected a student, and those students will each receive a $5,000 scholarship. RCS and Tully both earned an additional $5,000 for their student with their victories.

Lakeland students were invited to apply for the scholarship, and the winners were selected through an interview process with the dancers.

Team RCS Empowers included staff, board members, participants and friends of RCS Empowers, a nonprofit which empowers individuals with disabilities and special needs so that they may work, live and function with dignity and respect.

Tully is an accomplished artist known for creating landscapes using her signature relief-painting technique.

"We had another fabulous night, and we were able to tell the Lakeland story and generate financial support for some really inspiring students," said Deborah Wente, a Lakeland Trustee and the chair of the Movers & Shakers Gala planning committee.

"Seeing this show on the amazing Weill Center stage was a treat. We enjoy such strong community support and volunteer interest, which keeps this event alive. These people join our celebrities, local companies and our guests who give financially to make this evening successful."

Over its 11 years, Movers & Shakers has raised more than $2 million for Lakeland and more than 35 public organizations.

The other teams that danced in the event included:

  • Team Great Marriages, which includes board members, donors and friends of Great Marriages, a Sheboygan County nonprofit organization with a vision of a community of vibrant, strong, joyful, life-long marriages.
  • Team Coastal YPN, which includes leaders from Coastal, the young professional's network of the Sheboygan County Chamber of Commerce.
  • Team Lakeland, which is a group of Lakeland graduates and current/former Lakeland employees.

The other individual dancers included:

  • Deidre Martinez, the new executive director of the Sheboygan County Chamber of Commerce.
  • Brent Neevel, owner of Sheboygan Fit Body Boot Camp.
  • Grant Pauly, founder and brewmaster of 3 Sheeps Brewing Company.

Major sponsors of this year's gala were the Frank G. and Frieda K. Brotz Family Foundation; Sargento Foods Inc.; Studio Gear; BMO Harris Bank; Zimmermann Printing Co.; Sun Graphics Media; Bemis Manufacturing Company, Festival Foods; the Stefanie H. Weill Center for the Performing Arts; and The Berkshire.

More information about the Movers & Shakers Gala is available at moversandshakersgala.org and on the event's Facebook page.

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