Gala Stars Shine for IMS Students

By IMS Staff

It was an all-star night filled with stellar performances from 11 Philadelphia newsmakers and their professional dance partners, all competing in Independence Mission Schools (IMS) Gala Benefit Dancing for Our Future Stars. Over 500 supporters turned out Saturday, March 5th to watch the excitement of the glittering ballroom dance competition while raising funds to support our schools in underserved neighborhoods across Philly.

Last year’s Dancing for Our Future Stars was one of the city’s most talked about galas, and this year’s event was just as spectacular, showcasing some of the city’s biggest newsmakers. Our dancing couples spent four months learning and rehearsing a competitive dance performance to wow the judges and audience during their two minutes on the floor. A combination of dancing skill and fundraising for votes before and during the event determined the winning Grand Champion couple, Peter Panageas of Independence Blue Cross and K.O. Delmarcelle who swept to the top honor with their rendition of a 1950’s-style boogie “Rock Around the Clock.”

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Peter Panageas from Independence Blue Cross

Taking home the Judges’ Choice Runner-Up Award was KYW Newsradio 1060 reporter Kristen Johanson and her coach Tony Azzaro performing a streetwise hip-hop mash-up. Judges’ Choice Winners Big Brothers Big Sisters/SEPA CEO Marcus Allen and his dance Pro Amber Rawls received big cheers for their daring, jazz-inspired swing. The People’s Choice Runner-up was crowd favorite the IHM Sister Act for the big finale number inspired by the hit movie Sister Act. People’s Choice Winner was Carol Tamburino who performed a glamorous Mummer’s Strut with partner Peter Liciaga.


The gala line-up included performances from:

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BBBS CEO Marcus Allen & Amber Rawls

Marcus Allen — CEO, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Southeastern PA dancing with PRO Amber Rawls.

AJ Feeley — Former NFL quarterback and Philadelphia Eagles 2001 draft pick dancing with the 2015 Dancing for Our Future Stars Runner-up PRO Nikki Thomas.

Ilia Garcia — News anchor for UNIVISION65 dancing with PRO Curt Foy, CEO, CF Star Entertainment.

Tommy Geromichalos — Best known as the little boy who saved St. Cyril’s of Alexandria School dancing with PRO Narissa Fell professional dancer, choreographer, and educator.

William (Bill) J. Green, IV — Former Chair of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission and Attorney with Dilworth Paxon dancing with returning PRO Katie Miccarelli.

Quincy Harris — FOX29 reporter dancing with returning PRO Renee Chambers-Liciaga.

IHM “Sister Act” — six Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, including four who work at IMS schools, performing their own rendition inspired by the hit movie Sister Act: Sr. Eileen Buchanan, Principal of St. Veronica; Sr. Ellen Giardino, Principal of St. Martin of Tours; Sr. Rita Murphy, Principal of St. Rose of Lima; Sr. Emily Faubion, teacher at St. Martin of Tours; Sr. Melissa Mastrangelo, teacher at Holy Innocents; and Sr. Mary James McCaffrey, Director of Religious Education at St. Mary Magdalen, Media.


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IHM Sister Act

Kristen Johanson — KYW Newsradio 1060 reporter and former planning editor for CBS Philly, dancing with PRO Mark Anthony (Tony) Azzaro, Studio Director of Freestyle Dance Academy.


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KYW Newsradio 1060’s Kristen Johanson & Tony Azzaro

Peter Panageas — VP of Sales & Analytics at Independence Blue Cross dancing with PRO K.O. Delmarcelle, a dance teacher at West Chester University and the “Dancing With the Students” program in Philadelphia.

Gregorrio Santiago — Philadelphia Police Department 19th District Officer
10-year veteran dancing with PRO Ginny Carey, a Hustle Dance World Championship title holder.

Carol Tamburino – Philadelphia philanthropist and construction consultant dancing with Peter Liciaga.

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Carol Tamburino & Peter Liciaga

Additionally, notable awards were given to the following performers:

  • Passion for the Mission — Tommy Geromichalos and Narissa Fell.
  • Best Costumes — Bill Green and Katie Miccarelli.
  • Best Presentation — Quincy Harris and Renee Liciaga.
  • Best Musicality & Expression — Ilia Garcia and Curt Foy.
  • Best Execution — AJ Feeley and Nikki Thomas.
  • Creativity & Choreography — Gregorrio Santiago and Ginny Carey.

From the entire Independence Mission Schools family, thank you to all of the dance teams and all of our event supporters.