By JEANNIE WILEY WOLF
A television show about zombies may be just the spark Meghan McClincy-Woolley and her mom, Becky McClincy, need to help local dance students who are struggling financially.
McClincy-Woolley owns Becky’s School of Dance of Findlay. In 2009, Becky’s Angels was created to help students afford dance fees and supplies.
“My husband and I and them (her parents) before us have always scholarshipped kids. There’s so many kids that are in need,” she said. “And even though we scholarship as many as we can, there’s always more out there.”
The studio used to sell Becky’s Angels T-shirts to raise money, but that has kind of “fizzled out.” Anonymous donors have also funded scholarships in the past.
The program has helped at least 100 students over the years, McClincy-Woolley said, but the account is currently empty. “We just need more funds.”
So they asked their local movie star for help.
Cassady McClincy, who is Becky’s granddaughter and Meghan’s niece, portrays Lydia on “The Walking Dead,” an American post-apocalyptic horror television series for AMC. Some of Cassady’s other acting credits include “Ozark,” “Castle Rock,” “Love, Simon” and “Crimes and Mister Meanors.” The upcoming season of “The Walking Dead” will be Cassady’s third season.
McClincy-Woolley described 19-year-old Cassady as giving, thankful, bright, sunny and always happy. She was also gracious enough at Christmastime, her family said, to sign three T-shirts and three photographs depicting her with actor Norman Reedus, who plays Daryl Dixon on the show.
“Of course, we can’t wait to see it every week,” McClincy-Woolley said of “The Walking Dead.”
She said Cassady told her family members that on the first day of filming, she had to learn to ride a horse while blindfolded, with her hands tied behind her back.
“Somebody was leading the horse, but she had to stay on,” McClincy said.
“So it’s fun to hear her stories,” added McClincy-Woolley.
Raffle tickets for the autographed photos are being sold for $1 each, or six for $5, while tickets for the T-shirts (one small adult size and two large adult sizes) are available for $5 each, or three for $10. Tickets may be purchased at the dance school, 15440 U.S. 224 East, during office hours (4:30-7:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays), beginning Monday.
The drawing will be held at 8:30 p.m. April 2 in the school lobby. Winners need not be present to win.
McClincy started Becky’s School of Dance 56 years ago, buying the business as a senior in high school from her teacher.
“Her studio was on Trenton Avenue, so she would walk from Findlay High School down Trenton Avenue and teach all night after school,” said McClincy-Woolley.
“It was October of my senior year and I didn’t have a car yet,” said McClincy. “That next summer then, I was able to buy a car.”
McClincy sold the business to McClincy-Woolley, who is now the owner and director. McClincy-Woolley’s daughter, Kaitlyn Emerine, is the assistant director and an instructor.
“It’s a fun business,” said McClincy-Woolley. “It’s fun seeing the kids grow up. It’s kind of bittersweet though, because I have three graduating this year and it just breaks my heart to say goodbye.”
The studio has about 500 students and offers lessons in tap, ballet, jazz, lyrical and hip-hop.
The women said there’s a definite need for the scholarship fund.
“We see some sad things,” McClincy said.
Dance is an outlet for a lot of the young dancers, and a chance to connect with other youth, she added.
“It’s a place that’s free from the social network out there that can sometimes be brutal. We don’t allow any negative things said at all in the studio,” McClincy-Woolley said.
In addition, the studio collects old shoes and leotards from previous dancers and donates them to students in need.
“We’ve also shipped them off to Hurricane Katrina victims, too, to other dance studios before. But the main focus is giving to kids in our community,” said McClincy-Woolley.
All proceeds from the drawing will go to Becky’s Angels.