For the hip hop squad competition:
Sixteen local “Stars” have been divided into two hip hop squads, each one consisting of 8 dancers and each led by an experienced hip hop coach. Over the course of 9-10 weeks, each squad will learn a separate choreographed group routine.
Squad 1: Rogue Remix Crew
with Coach Carlee Schultz
Deona Thomas is a Native Oregonian who was born in Roseburg to Roberta and Roger Moreno. Raised in the Rogue Valley, along with her two siblings, she graduated from North Medford High School.
After graduation, Deona attended beauty school and has enjoyed an extremely rewarding 21-year career in cosmetology. She and her husband, Carl, opened De & Co. Salon in April of 2016 and she is determined to have the business serve the Rogue Valley both as a beauty supplier and as an active community resource. She makes certain that she and her husband’s community service includes contributions of their time and resources to worthy causes, such as Sparrow Clubs and Kids Unlimited.
Deona is also a dedicated mother committed to the love and support of her children (Enrique and Amaya) as Enrique works to gain entry into Rogue Community College’s Fire Science program and Amaya enjoys her junior year at North Medford High School.
Deona has recently caught the “travel bug” and aims to visit a new country every year!
Jami has lived in Medford 47 years and married to Steven for 27 of those. They graduated from North Medford High and are proud parents of quadruplets plus 1 daughter-in-law. They pursue their mission of making the world a happier place, one comic at a time, at Rogue City Comics in downtown Medford.
Jami played team sports throughout school and was once told by a coach that she ran like a 3-legged rhinoceros. She learned to row crew while attending Oregon State University and played some city league softball. In addition to sports, Jami is a fan of books, laughter, art, food, writing, coffee, and music.
With an outlook adopted from Helen Keller, that “life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all” and the zeal of an investigative journalist, Jami has signed up for some wild adventures. She did a half marathon for Make-A-Wish in Denver (in which she raised $2K and was lapped by an elderly woman wearing oxygen), passed an FBI pistol qualification test, did a Mrs. pageant (picture Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality), and joined a roller derby team with her daughter at 45.
Jami is eager to partner with Sparrow Clubs, raise support, and bring her 3-legged rhino skills to the dance floor!
Josh Abbott was raised in the Rogue Valley from an early age. He attended North Medford High School and then Southern Oregon University and graduated with a degree in Criminology. Josh married his wonderful wife, Nicole, in 2004 and they are raising two children.
Josh realized his goal of becoming a police officer in 2010 when he joined the ranks of the Central Point Police Department. In 2015, Josh was selected to be a detective for the Criminal Investigations unit. Josh feels honored to be able to serve the citizens of Central Point and continues to attend training on how to best help those victimized by various crimes.
For years, Josh has wanted to work with kids in need. This desire to serve the community is what brought Josh to seek out a partnership with Sparrow Clubs. In 2017 the Central Point Police Department and Fire District 3 worked together to sponsor a Sparrow through Crater High School. Josh competed in Dancing with the Rogue Valley Stars 9 and although he did not win, he had a great time. Josh is back both to compete and to help spread the word for Sparrow Clubs.
Joshua is a first generation American, born in California. He spent a couple of years in Vegas. In those years while working at Starbucks and a popular tourist publication he discovered that he had a real interest in connecting with people. He and his wife moved to the Valley in 2016 to be closer to family and get away from the fast paced lifestyle. It was while pioneering the Internet Department for BMW he discovered that investing in and serving people is what builds community. From that moment @ThatSpotOn became a platform to highlight local businesses and their stories. Now he gets to work hand in hand with business owners providing them practical ways to run and grow their business.
When he is not serving the community, you can find him running the sound board at his church on the weekends, staying up to date with the latest tech, and spending time with wife and two kids. He has dreams to reach his fullest potential within himself, as a husband, a father, and in business. “
“My daughter had surgery at 4 months old to fix her heart. Very grateful to help those who have been down a similar path.”
Karen is an HR Representative with Asante’s Employee and Labor Relations and is the mother of two beautiful girls in which one is a former Sparrow herself! Her daughter Madison was a Sparrow for both Central Point High School as well as Lone Pine Elementary. Madison has neurofibromatosis and is battling several tumors throughout her body. She is on a clinical drug study which requires travel to the National Institutes of Health several times throughout the year. She also travels to her specialist appointments in Portland as well as her local appointments here in the Rogue Valley.
The Branaugh family knows first-hand just how amazing the Sparrow Clubs program is and how huge of an impact it has to the Sparrow, the Sparrow’s family, their peers and the community overall. Madison’s smile becomes so big when she can talk to other kids about her journey and telling her peers that it’s ok to be different and that you can work through your challenges no matter how difficult. Madison’s dream is to become a motivational speaker when she gets older and her sister, Brooke, would like to work in the medical field and help others.
The Branaugh family have watched Dancing with the Rogue Valley Stars year after year with genuine enthusiasm and this year Karen feels so blessed and honored to be up on the stage and be able to bring the excitement and love that she feels for the cause up there with her…and her daughters think that it’s super awesome!
Karen will be part of this year’s new Hip Hop team and although she has never danced hip hop she is very excited about the opportunity and the journey that it will take her and her family on.
Catering & Events Director, Events Operations Manager, Party Goddess, DJ T-Dubs, whichever hat she’s wearing Tawny Westphalen is sure to be found in the center of it all. Never one to stand idly by, Tawny is the Jane of all Trades for The Schoolhaus Events department. After years of management at a fast food giant followed by a 4 year back office stint with a local cheese monger, Tawny jumped at the opportunity to share her love of Pinterest boards and inherent hospitality with the world and joined The Schoolhaus team.
When not helping wedding dreams come true, Tawny can be found deeply involved in her community. An active member of the Medford Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, she finds great fulfillment in helping promote other local businesses. As a mother of two boys the rest of her hours are dedicated to Boosters (McLoughlin and South), PTO (Jacksonville), Scouts (Troop 17) and just a little side hustle, a full-time photo booth business (because who needs sleep!).
Married to her high school sweetheart, Tawny has promised her supportive husband Frank that someday she’ll probably retire; but then again with all that extra time she might just pursue her dream of opening a year-round Christmas Shop and Margarita Bar.
Born in Werneck Germany, Terrill is the youngest of 3 siblings and attends New Life Church of the Nazarene. Terrill was raised in Klamath Falls with athletics being a major part of his upbringing, playing basketball and football throughout his childhood and playing collegiately as well. Terrill moved to the Rogue Valley in 2009. He has spent 20 years in the financial industry and currently is the Branch Manager for Banner Bank in Central Point.
Terrill is a very avid sports fan and loves watching his kids participate in multiple sporting activities. He also loves playing golf whenever possible.
Terrill has 2 beautiful children, Treycen (8) and Tavian (5). He has been married to his beautiful and amazing wife Tyann since 2010, who is from Klamath Falls as well.
Terrill was introduced to Sparrow Clubs through past dancers Monica Clayton and Ralph Wallis. He’s excited to help bring more awareness to this inspiring organization and the families it touches each and every year.
Tia McLean is a kindergarten teacher at Helman School in Ashland and was recently named Southern Oregon’s Regional Teacher of the Year. She infuses her classroom with song, dance, community service, outdoor education and mindfulness.
One of her students was a special Sparrow named Jack who taught us all to be our best selves. She is extremely grateful for ASD’s partnership with the Sparrow Club which empowers students to help classmates through service to our community.
Tia serves on many site-based and district-wide committees and non-profit organizations; always looking to enhance equity, diversity and inclusion, mental and physical health and wellness, Hawaiian cultural preservation, teacher’s unions (Ashland Education Association), childhood cancer research (Friends of Jack Dorr), and conservation (Hui Malama O’Waikapu).
Born and raised on Maui, she loves perpetuating the Hawaiian culture through hula. She is an alaka’i for Halau Hula Ka Pi’o O’ Ke Anuenue with the inspiring Kumu Andrea and infuses her classroom with multi-cultural opportunities and aloha.
She has a husband (a gym teacher named Jim) who swept her off her feet with his Gene Kelly-esque dance moves. They are blessed with three daughters (Montana, Naia and Amira) who love swimming, soccer and living room dancing together.
with Coach Meghan Brandow
Ashley Blakely, though not a native to Oregon, attended grade school and college in Klamath Falls, Oregon. This is also where her fire career began, working in public affairs and outreach at the US Forest Service. In 2010, Ashley moved to Medford to pursue her Master’s in Management Degree at Southern Oregon University and also began a position at Oregon Department of Forestry in the public information and outreach field. After receiving her master’s degree, Ashley took a short stint outside the fire service, but quickly worked herself back into the profession when accepting a Fire Adapted Communities Coordinator position at Ashland Fire & Rescue in 2014. In 2015 Ashley made the transition from Ashland to Fire District 3.
Ashley, her husband Dave, and daughter Andie love spending time outdoors, camping, traveling, and attending country concerts.
Carl Thomas was born in Houston, Texas and grew up in Sacramento, California. He and his three sisters were raised by their extremely hard-working, loving and no-nonsense mother. After graduating from Southern Oregon University, Carl has enjoyed a 23-year career in Oregon Public Higher Education. He currently works for the Oregon Institute of Technology.
Carl and his wife, Deona, enjoy a large blended family. Between the two of them, they have four girls and two boys. Carl’s eldest daughter has also blessed him with three grandchildren. To be clear, Carl’s a grandfather, but Deona is affectionately called “HaHa;” NOT grandma.
Carl’s passions are spending time with his family, running, and working with aspiring college students. He serves on the Board of Directors for
College Dreams, Scholarship Committees and serves on a workgroup supporting the Medford School District’s Equity Specialist.
He and Deona own De & Co. Salon (located in Medford) and enjoy contributing to local organizations that are dedicated to improving the lives of community members in the Rogue Valley and all of Southern Oregon. Along with Sparrow Clubs, some of their favorite organizations to support are Kids Unlimited, College Dreams and The Humane Society.
Chris is a dancing tin man. Sparrow Clubs is giving him the heart and motivation to shake off the rust and dance for a good cause that benefits our youth and kid heroes.
Having visited or lived on nearly every continent, Chris and his family are happy to call the beautiful Rogue Valley home. Family roots run deep here. Initially coming as loggers in the mid-1900s, his family began and continue to operate manufacturing companies – Hassell Fabrication and Collins Manufacturing. After graduating from Brigham Young University, Chris worked for a tech company specializing in wireless Internet products that help connect more people globally, especially in underserved areas of the world. He’s now involved in the operations of Collins Mfg. supplying the roadside heroes with towing equipment that makes their job safer and easier.
Chris and his wife Jennifer met at BYU and just celebrated their 6th anniversary. Their two cute kids (4 and 2 years old) bring a lot of energy and light into their world and always have them laughing. They are their treasure.
Some of Chris’ most memorable experiences come from serving or being involved in the community and DWTRVS will be one for the books.
Emmalee is a Mom to two adventurous farm boys Hudson (9) and Scout (7), wife to her larger than life and hunky husband Byron of 17 years, lover of Jesus and lifetime explorer of knowledge, wellness, good food, travel and the amazing outdoors!
When not exploring with her family, Emmalee is the Clinic Director of Complete Integrative Care and Complete Care Health Centers with four locations in the Rogue Valley. She is honored to work with an amazing team that strives to equip patients with knowledge on how they can achieve optimal health and thrive at any age while reducing or eliminating medication and reversing or preventing disease!
In addition, Emmalee co-owns a custom farming operation and HIGS GYM with her husband where they offer indoor and outdoor training opportunities for kids and adults ranging from parkour, jiu-jitsu, fitness and Rock Steady boxing which is an incredible program that allows those with Parkinson’s to fight back against the disease!
Emmalee is passionate about Sparrow Clubs as she has seen first-hand the impact it can make both on the Sparrow family as well as the kids navigating compassion and using their time to volunteer to raise funds for their peers in need!
Heather Converse moved to Southern Oregon from California at the young age of 15, and she cannot wait to continue her heart’s work of investing in the wellness and life of her community. As a certified life and success coach, Heather uses her extensive network of professional and personal connections to catalyze growth and solutions in the most challenging solutions and hopes to apply this same thirst to inspire others to join her in supporting Sparrow Clubs!
Her natural tendency to lean directly into the difficult arenas of life makes Dancing with the Rogue Valley Stars a natural fit. Seeing the tangible impact Sparrow families experience through the event resonated deeply with Heather’s heart. If 10 years of experience as a life coach has taught her anything, it’s the truth that God is present, ready, and willing to intervene in our lives immediately with destiny and purpose – especially when we are at our most humbled.
And if learning to dance in front of strangers is anything, it’s humbling. The great news is that even after she tears up the dance floor with her team this year, Heather’s husband Ryan will be ready and waiting with some brand-new flooring to install from their family business.
As a mom of four and a mentor to so many more, Heather’s love for healthy generations is what drives her to continue pursuing community partnerships like Sparrow Clubs. She is passionate and relentless in her drive to connect the right people and see God unleash His purpose and love in our city and our Sparrow families.
Jason was born and raised in Phoenix, AZ where he lived until he left to serve a 2-year ecclesiastical mission in Peru. While in Peru Jason worked extensively to provide humanitarian aid and medical relief to numerous underserved families. Once he returned from Peru, Jason earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas before going to the Duke University School of Medicine to become a physician assistant. Jason’s commitment to working with the medically underserved led him to work for La Clinica here in the Rogue Valley. Although Jason notes that dancing truly places him “way outside of his comfort zone,” he has seen first-hand the financial and emotional strains placed on many families due to medical problems. He decided to work with Sparrow Clubs because and loves the hope and relief they provide to so many families.
Jason currently lives in Central Point with his wife and their 2 children. They spend most of their free time outside exploring the beauties of Oregon.
Kim Adams was born and raised in Southern Oregon and lives on a small “funny farm” in South Medford with her husband Shawn, sons Max and Jack, daughter Elie …(all who are totally embarrassed that she is doing this) and let’s not forget the chickens, goats, alpacas, sheep, mini horse, and lab Rosie.
Kim works at Higs Gym as the manager and Rock Steady Boxing coach…a program designed for those with Parkinson’s. She is passionate about this program and loves being part of her boxers’ journey by taking a “drill sergeant” approach in helping them fight back.
She also owns a mobile bar business, The HJB Booze and Brews, catering to all events…bringing the bar to you! She loves bartending and all the fun that goes with it.
Kim founded Love Stripped, a ministry devoted to loving on those in the strip club, bridging the gap between women in all walks of life. Meeting people right where they are at and loving on them.
Supporting Sparrow Clubs for years, it was hard for Kim to say no to the peer pressure of being involved in this year’s program. How can you say no to such a great organization?
Monica Garvin Clayton
Monica is a returning Star and is excited to be on the stage, dancing in the first HIP HOP group competition. Monica performed in 2017 dancing the Argentine Tango taking 2nd place Judges’ Choice, 3rd place People’s Choice and Shining Star Award! Monica has been involved with Sparrow Clubs for 8 years, introducing them to Banner Bank, who became a primary sponsor.
Born and raised in Santa Cruz, California, Monica moved to the Rogue Valley in 1993. She has spent 32 years in the financial industry and currently is the Regional Manager for Banner Bank.
She is very passionate about non-profit organizations in Southern Oregon, serving on several boards and committees. In 2010, Monica won the State of Oregon Children’s Trust Fund Award of Excellence for her work with non-profits.
Monica has 2 beautiful children, Emily (21) and Jared (16). She met her amazing and supportive –her biggest fan- husband, Timothy, while volunteering with a local non-profit organization. They married in 2013.
Today Monica is dedicating her dance to her Dad Larry, who taught her the love of dance and her Mother, Jeannie, who passed away four years ago from Ovarian Cancer. Her mom’s passion for dance is why she is on this stage again.