When Dozier Elementary Librarian Schuyler Poche'
attended the Annual Louisiana Reading Conference
with colleagues Pam Cheek, Kayla Lucas and
Jennifer Toups in September, little did she
realize how a few "Pete the Cat" reading
sessions with Author Eric Litwin would bring the
school a big reward.
While at the conference in Baton Rouge, Poche'
learned of a way she could try to get nationally
known Author Eric Litwin to visit her school. As
with most school libraries, funding "big name"
authors is normally not in their budget.
However, at his session to promote his newest
book "The Nuts, Sing and Dance in Your
Polka-Dot Pants", Eric Litwin shared that he
was conducting a video contest which could earn
one school, a free visit from him valued at
$3500. He then offered the group details about
his "Polka Dot Dance Pants" video contest.
Poche' admitted, "my mind began racing as to
how Dozier Elementary could write and produce a
video to enter." She then added that she
and the trio of teachers with her at the
conference, "immediately began brainstorming
ideas while still in Baton Rouge."
Upon her return from the conference, the project
for the school's "Polka Dot Dance Pants" video
ideas was set in motion. She checked on protocol
with district and school leaders, then met with
Dozier Elementary teachers and volunteers who
would be willing to help her. Poche' said, it
was then her idea blossomed into a "school
wide project for Dozier."
Along with Poche', music teacher Kylie Veazey,
4th grade teacher Lori Porter, and several
teachers began meeting to write the script and
plan video sessions. The premise of the story
lies with Dozier students looking around town
for "Pete the Cat" (a main character in
Litwin's books) to help teach them the
"Polka Dot Pants Dance." The final touch in the
video was to have a Cajun twist in the
For the video, Kindergarten teacher Hope Hebert
was chosen for the "Pete the Cat" role. Poche
stated that she felt "they picked the perfect
person to play Pete the Cat. Hope (Hebert) truly
brought the story's main character to life."
With the script and ideas now in place, Poche'
contacted retired Dozier Teacher Stacy Bodin who
still works with the school's technology
program, to assist with the editing and
publishing part of the project. She knew
between teacher Lori Porter and Bodin, she would
leave the technology portion in their hands.
The next step entailed securing help to teach
the student body the "Polka Dot Pants Dance"
without using instructional time in the
classroom. Poche's support system to help teach
the dance to the students involved with Dana
Frederick, (PE teacher) and Kylie Veazy
(Music teacher) who each meets with the
students weekly. Poche' also used her library
time to assist with teaching the dance, as well
as promoting Eric Litwin's books which
encouraged reading and literacy.
As students and faculty members were learning
the dance, the energetic librarian then began
her quest of involving the community. She
invited Mayor John Earl LeBlanc (and his
secretaries Jamie Simon, Raquel Harris, Tanya
Hebert), members of the Erath Fire
Department (Tristin Bouillion, Chad Eden,
Chad Savoy), Vermilion Parish School
Superintendent Jerome Puyau, Supervisor Mary
Joyce Dugas, Erath High Principal Marc Turner
and both the EHS Cheerleaders and Dance Teams.
To complete the community involvement, she also
involved locally owned Champagne's Grocery Store
and Gloria Richard, a long time worker there.
On days off of school or after school, Poche'
and her caravan of mothers, community members,
teachers, and students, traveled around Erath to
video different performances prior to the main
school wide dancing event. One video clip was
filmed at an actual Erath High football game.
With her eyes firmly focused on the prize, Poche'
then worked with her school leaders Principal
Karla Toups and Assistant Principal Christine
Hebert to launch a school wide production set
for October 22nd. The excited students and
educators were encouraged to wear polka dot
clothing for the production. On that fall
afternoon, almost 600 students, teachers,
leaders and guests gathered to dance for their
"Polka Dot Pants Dance" video. Fortunately, the
final clips that day were filmed without a
hitch. At that time, the editing stage began
with a deadline set for November 1st.
After viewing the video, Erath Mayor John Earl
LeBlanc who participated in the video shared,
"I am so proud of Schuyler (Poche') and the
teachers at Dozier who helped with the video. I
was amazed at the involvement of the Erath
Community" LeBlanc ended by sharing, "As
I always say, only in Erath, Louisiana. I love
Erath Town Councilman Robert B. Vincent, who is
also the Erath 4th of July Association President
has been actively involved with Dozier
Elementary through the years. Though invited for
the production, he wasn't able to attend the
taping. He, however, shared his sentiments by
saying, "I am so proud of what the students
and faculty of Dozier Elementary were able to
accomplish by working together with other
members of the community. I can't think of
better ambassadors for Erath, telling the world
of what a great community in which we live."
After waiting several weeks for the results, on
the morning of Friday, November 20th, the
announcement was made that Dozier Elementary was
the Grand Champion winner. Eric Litwin's
official announcement on his website stated,
"Thank you to everyone involved in the Polka-Dot
Pants Dance Contest. The contest was a HUGE
success with 80 videos entered, because of YOU!
Thank you to all the extraordinary students. (We
estimate that over 20,000 children
participated!) Thank you amazing teachers, fun
principals, extraordinary librarians, three town
mayors, and even the First Lady of Tennessee!
Thank you to our 20 tireless volunteers who
helped to judge and give wonderful compliments
to each and every video. Our judges have
selected a Grand-prize winner, and 11 Finalists.
This was so hard because every video was
awesome, heartfelt, and full of fun. Our
Grand-prize winner (Dozier Elementary) will
receive a free visit from me!"
Upon hearing the news, Erath High Principal Marc
Turner, who participated in the video with his
EHS Cheerleaders and Dance team posted the
announcement on the Erath school's facebook page.
"Congratulations to our feeder school, Dozier
Elementary, who was announced as the winner of
the Polka Dot Dance! What a phenomenal project
to show off the school and impress upon the
students how creativeness and competition can
lead to awards that show off our community.
Thank you for letting EHS be a part of this
Vermilion Parish Superintendent Jerome Puyau who
also had a dancing role in the video, shared
this message, "Congratulations to the
faculty, staff and administration of Dozier
Elementary on winning this national competition.
A special thank you to Schuyler Poche' for
organizing the project. What an amazing
accomplishment! I am proud to live in a
community that comes together to help our
After the school found it about the Grand
Champion status, Principal Karla Toups shared,
"needless to say we are extremely proud that
we were selected the Grand Champion, however, I
have to add how amazed I am with the amount of
community involvement we received." Toups
then added, "In a nutshell, Mrs. Poche' came
back from her conference with a seed of an idea
to promote literacy with our students. She
planted that seed with our faculty who basically
watered it to get it started. Our community then
helped by offering plenty of sunlight. How
wonderful is that? It was a recipe for success!
I am extremely proud of Mrs. Poche and my
faculty, staff and community!"
Toups ended by sharing, "We want to thank
everyone who participated and who offered help.
It is appreciated more than anyone can imagine.
In addition to winning the contest, our students
will have this special memory for a lifetime! As
a leader, I feel that is definitely a 'win, win'
situation for all."
Suffice it to say, the very excited, Dozier
Elementary Librarian Schuyler Poche' echoed the
exact same sentiments as her school leader!
The school's video can be viewed from the Dozier
Elementary website @