Fathers, daughters enjoy Sweetheart Gala

Published 4:49 pm Monday, February 12, 2024

By Jessica Covington, for the SNAP

Valentine’s Day is not just a reminder to romantic individuals to acknowledge the love they have for their partners; it is also a time for fathers to set a standard for their daughters on expectations for future relationships.

These standards were definitely set high for the daughters in attendance at the Sweetheart Gala held at the YMCA Pavilion in Albemarle Friday night.

The event held a range of daughters, some just beginning to walk and others approaching adulthood. The one thing they all had in common? Clear adoration for their fathers.

Steele Waksmunski and her father, Michael, attend the Sweetheart Gala Friday. (Photo by JESSICA COVINGTON)

“We came for some father/daughter bonding time,” Steele Waksmunski said of her decision to attend with her father, Michael.

Steele was dressed to impress in red sparkles, and she coordinated that color to match her dad’s tie.

“I had to tie it three times to get it right, didn’t I, Steele?” he laughed.

She agreed, but was quick to point out just how handsome he looked.

Another father-daughter duo in attendance was Curtis Smith and his daughter, Ismalela.

Ismalela and her father, Curtis Smith, enjoyed the Sweetheart Gala Friday night. (Photo by JESSICA COVINGTON)

“We’re new to the area and thought this would be a good way to get out and about,” Curtis said.

Prior to moving, Curtis and Ismalela had attended similar events and really enjoyed the opportunity to spend quality time together.

Having several siblings, carving out one-on-one time for just the two of them has been a priority. When asked what her favorite part of these dances has been, Ismalela said, “Dancing with my dad is really fun.”

Most attendees learned about the event through other activities at the YMCA.

“It’s so important to us to have these community activities for families to get them engaged,” said Ronda Bunn, childcare director for the YMCA. “It’s great to see [families] out here having fun together.”

The YMCA has been sponsoring this event for more than 20 years.

“We have some new faces, but a lot of these girls have been coming since they were tiny,” Bunn added.

Jessica Covington is a freelance writer for The Stanly News & Press.