JACKSON TWP — Several hundred students in Seneca Valley High School will soon embark on a journey that will have them dance, stand or otherwise be active for 12 hours, all in the name of charity.
The school’s student council is sponsoring a first-time event called RaiderTHON, a dance marathon modeled after the hugely-popular THON event at Penn State University.
Students April 18 will assemble at 8 p.m. at the high school and won’t quit until 8 a.m. the following morning. They hope to raise at least $15,000 for the Miracle League of Southwestern Pennsylvania.
There are 220 registered dancers who are divided into 18 teams that will compete against each other to raise the most money.
Each dancer can raise money independently from the RaiderTHON event, or anyone wishing to donate can visit the Go Fund Me website for the event.
In addition, spectators to the dance marathon will pay a $5 entry fee, money that can be donated to a certain individual or team.
Madeline Bresch, a senior and the president of the student council, said she’s already raised $1,200 for RaiderTHON.
Dancing and standing for 12 hours could be a bit of a challenge, although Bresch said she’ll get motivation from the Miracle League.
“It’s going to be a long, fun night,” she said. “But it’s a small sacrifice for the Miracle League, which is for people who face the challenge of having disabilities. Suddenly, standing and dancing for 12 hours doesn’t seem so bad. It’s a reminder of why we do it.”
Bresch said she and other student council members decided on donating to the Miracle League because it is a local organization with a number of volunteers and beneficiaries in the Seneca Valley School District.
Katie Halliday, the student council adviser at the high school, said there is a unique caveat to the event in that students don’t necessarily have to remain active for 12 straight hours.
“We have something called a relaxation package,” she said. “When students register to dance, they don’t necessarily have to dance. They have to commit to stand for 12 hours without standing or leaning. But they can pay $10 to sit down for 30 minute increments.”
However, there will be plenty of events to keep students active. Halliday said there will be line dancing on the hour, a dodgeball tournament and other activities.
The teacher said she’s aware of several other schools in the region doing a similar event, although they were much shorter than RaiderTHON.
Mark Korcinsky, principal of the senior high school, praised RaiderTHON as a “student-driven idea that has generated awareness and a connection within the community.”
“The team planning the event is a courageous group of young men and women who are coordinating RaiderTHON for the right reasons,” he said. “It’s all about helping kids.”
A representative from Penn State’s THON event didn’t return a call for comment.