The Excalibur

Dance Marathon a Success

Chloe Dougherty, Staff Writer

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After months of preparation, communication with UF, and hard work behind the scenes, East Ridge’s Inaugural Dance Marathon was held successfully on February 17, 2018. Students of UF and volunteers of DM, kicked off the event by having all participants sit on the floor and then all stand for those that can’t. The event lasted six hours, in which the students of East Ridge, friends, family, UF volunteers, and Miracle Network Children danced, while keeping in mind the children that are fighting for their lives in the hospital. At the Dance Marathon, you get to fight along with them, and at the same time, raise money so one day the dance for a cure turns into a dance of celebration.

At East Ridge, the entire duration of the dance included themed music per decade from the 1960s to the early 2000s, as well as music that made people not want to do anything but dance. Guests were not by any means forced to dance the entire six hours, however they were encouraged to, especially as the students of the University of Florida instructed a line dance. Everyone also couldn’t help but dance as the band “Overhang” took over the stage. The band added a much needed level of energy during the last hour that kept people entertained and excited to find out the fundraising total.

For those that did not want to put on their dancing shoes, they were invited to play carnival inspired games, along with four square, a very popular game throughout the night. Those that attended also started small games of volleyball and basketball, as others just ran around having fun with hula-hoops, balloons, and a special guest. The guest, Cooper, also the Dance Marathon’s new four-legged friend, was happy to sit in the Dog Kissing Booth to help raise money for the kids.

By playing games and dancing your heart out, you can work up an appetite, but Teany and her team were prepared for just that. By purchasing an entry ticket, guests were allowed to dine during the event thanks to the local Clermont PDQ. The restaurant was generous enough to provide what seemed to be an endless supply of chicken tenders and their signature sauces. Other food included chips, mac and cheese, and brownies, as well as breadsticks donated from Olive Garden.

It was all fun and games, but those that attended did not forget the reason they were there. The majority of the night consisted of raising money for Miracle Network Children, like Declan and Beckett, who East Ridge High School had the honor to dance the night away with. While they took a break from dancing, the young boys and their families were invited to the stage to explain their stories and the impact one person participating in a CMNH DM can make. Andy Thurston, a student of East Ridge, and DM participant, said, “It added a personal element to the event that made it just a million times more rewarding.” To help Declan and Beckett, and kids like them, participants were given assistance to make Donor Drives online and post their link to social media. These accounts were used as a direct source for their friends and families to donate and help with the overall cause. If an individual reached a certain fundraising amount, they were given special rewards, such as the chance to ring the legendary gong, just as Allison Teany had the opportunity to do. At one hour of the night, participants became even more inspired to raise money, as Declan was placed in “jail” and his bail was set at $250 donated to the Children’s Miracle Network. It was so thrilling to see so many people wanting to help Declan and in the end setting him free.

After long hours on their feet and hours on their phones trying to raise enough money to get Declan out of jail, those that attended the East Ridge High School Dance Marathon ended with a fundraising total of $3,606.75 for the kids. It is incredible to see the High School reach this incredible accomplishment through a student-run philanthropic event that will only continue to grow in the following years.

The Dance Marathon is an event Allison Teany hopes will become tradition for East Ridge High School. She wants the event to stretch farther than the National Honor Society, whose members made of the majority of participants this year. To do so, Teany is looking to create a club dedicated to devoting their time and energy to the kids of the Children’s Miracle Network by using the entire school year to plan the Dance Marathon and other fundraisers for the organization. Within the club, Teany hopes to have representatives from other ERHS clubs/organizations, such as SGA, to ensure the success of the dance reaches its full potential. Because Teany will graduate in the spring of 2019, her goal is to leave the dance marathon in the hands of a student as passionate about the cause as she was. Teany says, she will “continue to extend my passion and energy to help these children onto a magnitude of people.” This includes ensuring next year’s Dance Marathon ends with twice the amount of participants, fundraising, spirit, and fighting before she graduates. However, some students hope certain things will remain the same in the years to come, as the tradition blossoms, specifically the Dog Kissing Booth and performances from “Overhang!”

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