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Local schools host mini Dance Marathons

BY ALYSSA GUZMAN | JANUARY 27, 2015 5:00 AM

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Over the past two weeks, local high schools and elementary schools have hosted mini Dance Marathons in order to raise money for the cause and get younger students involved.

“[The mini Dance Marathons] show that you can be a part of something that is so much bigger than your own town, state, and home,” said Jake Engle, one of the mini Dance Marathon co-heads.

Participating schools include Indian Creek Elementary, Borlaug Elementary, Iowa City West High, Horn Elementary, and Garner Elementary. 

Engle said all the mini events go through the University of Iowa’s Dance Marathon. However, schools are encouraged to make their events unique in their own way.

“We really allow them to kind of make it their own event,” Engle said. “It’s just really spreading our message to what Dance Marathon does. It’s good for teaching kids of all ages about charity and helping others.”

West High senior Sam Ruback, one of the publicity heads, said her school tries to model its event as closely to the UI’s 24-hour Big Event as possible.

“Our event [on Jan. 18 was] our Big Event,” she said. “It lasts for five hours. We had dancers, and morale captains, and speakers.”

Some of the speakers included children or families fighting cancer.

“Children are either fighting cancer right now or have lost their battles, so they are dancing in our hearts,” Ruback said.

West High hosted several events during the course of the year in honor of people fighting cancer.

Some of the events included a 5K run in November 2014 and an event called “100 Days Out,” in which students danced for 100 minutes in their gym. All of these events were in preparation for West’s Big Event.

“West High School Dance Marathon welcomed close to 600 people through the door on [Jan. 18], including dancers, students, staff, parents, families, and the community,” said Jenifer Secrist, a West High teacher. “We were thrilled with our turnout this year and how our community joined together in the fight against pediatric cancer.”

The high school’s fundraising efforts were just short of $68,000, Secrist said.

Garner Elementary will host its event Friday, which will have a superhero theme.

“[The students] are pretty excited this year,” said Stephanie Proud, an organizer of the event and the spouse of Garner Elementary Principal Nick Proud.

Additionally, the Garner students started a coin drive and made posters in preparation for the event.

“[It was] a lot of hype over the week,” Proud said.

This year marked Garner Elementary school’s second mini Dance Marathon.

“[There were] a lot more people than last year,” Proud said. “It was a much bigger turnout.”

In addition to having more people at the event, there was also a significant boost in fundraising efforts.

“We don’t have all the final counts yet, but we’re probably about $1,000 over than last year,” Proud said.

With the superhero theme and having Herky in attendance to boost the kids’ morale, Proud said the night was a success.

“The kids really thought the superhero theme was really fun,” she said. “The kids all love the event. The parents think it’s crazy, but they have a really good time dancing in the gym. [It was] a great turnout, great volunteer support, and great parent support.”


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