ROYERSFORD >> Raising awareness and fighting childhood cancer is the goal for students at the Spring-Ford Area High School in March and April.
The students in the Interact Club are hosting the school’s first mini-THON, with high hopes of raising $15,000 to help find a cure for childhood cancer.
On April 11, students will complete six hours of dancing, which means that each participant is expected to stay on their feet for the entire Mini-THON. The mini-THON is modeled after the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON).
“Just like our parent version, THON at Penn State, we will run in a very similar format,” said Jason E. Miller, a Ninth Grade Center teacher, Interact Club Co-Advisor and Mini-THON Advisor. “We will have a dance/pep rally type of vibe, and all of the donations will go directly to The Four Diamonds Fund.”
Students are using Donor Drive to collect donations from friends, family members, co-workers, etc. At press time, the students had raised $3,000. Each student is asked to raise a minimum of $25. Students pay a registration fee of $15 for 6 hours of fun.
Miller has a history with THON, and is very excited to see it come to the Spring-Ford Area School District.
“Before coming to Spring-Ford, I ran a Mini-THON at my previous school successfully for three years,” Miller said. “However, my involvement with THON started when I went to Penn State as an undergrad. I danced in THON for the 48 hours at Rec Hall, and have been hooked ever since. I have been waiting for the perfect time to start one here, and this year everything fell into place.”
Miller noted that things seemed to fall into place, at the right time, for hosting the mini-THON at Spring-Ford.
“As I just recently became a co-advisor for the Spring-Ford High School Interact Club, I thought it would be a great community service project since the motto for the Interact Club is ‘Service Above Self,’” said Miller. “Before school let out last year for summer, I presented the idea of Mini-THON to my veteran counterpart, and Interact Club co-advisor, Mrs. Melanie Bowen. Mrs. Bowen was immediately on board with the idea, and we obtained the support of the administration. During summer, as I was thinking of how to recruit student leadership for Mini-THON, something short of a miracle occurred.”
Andrew Alban, a senior, emailed one of the grade level administrators, and expressed interest in starting Mini-THON himself. Alban saw THON at Penn State earlier in the year and was inspired. Alban was already a very active member of the Interact Club. He recruited Tyler Smith to help organize Mini-THON. Alban and Smith serve as the Student Co-Chairs/Directors for the mini-THON.
There are also five other students involved. Jake Zoller, 10th grade, serves as the Entertainment Overall. Zoller is responsible for planning Mini-THON down to the minute, and scheduling all of the activities. Camryn Jones and Elise DiGuiseppe, both 10th graders, serve as the Morale Overalls. They are responsible for making the sacred line dance and keeping the participants pumped during Mini-THON. Behind the scenes are Jason Marcus, 12th grade, and Simeon Sutterfield, 11th grade. Marcus is the Public Relations Overall, and handles getting the word out, especially making the amazing videos for the homeroom announcements. Sutterfield is the Finance Overall, and handles securing business sponsors, keeping track of all donations and making sure they stay within the budget.
“The students really are running the entire event,” Miller said. “Mrs. Bowen and I are here to guide the students, and to help when necessary. Even our entertainment is run by our own students. We have a great duo of DJs, one is a current senior, and the other is a current freshman at PSU and a Spring-Ford alum.”
There will also be a student band playing a set. Mini-THON will be packed with games, activities and a ton of entertainment for a great cause.
Mini-THONs have been making a difference in the lives of childhood cancer patients and their families for the last 20 years. Spring-Ford’s version joins the efforts of previously established Mini-THONs at fellow PAC-10 schools Phoenixville, Owen J. Roberts, Boyertown and Methacton, as well as fellow newcomers Upper Perkiomen.
More than 25,000 students participate in Mini-THONs at more than 130 schools throughout the region. During the 2013-2014 school year, these elementary, middle and high schools raised over $3.1 million for Four Diamonds.
For more information on Spring-Ford’s Mini-THON, or to donate, visit the website at sites.google.com/site/SFAHSMiniTHON or the Donor Drive account at fourdiamonds.donordrive.com/event/SF. The event can also be found on Twitter (@SFAHSMiniTHON) and Facebook (SFAHSMiniTHON). The event will be held on April 11 from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., at the Spring-Ford Area High School, 350 South Lewis Road, Royersford.