EA's first student-run DancEAthon raised over $42,000 for the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Funds will be directed toward research for Friedreich's Ataxia.
Planning for the March 3 event began in January by 19 students in the Dance Marathon EA JTerm class. The goal was to replicate the popular fundraiser that Penn State University students organize each year.
"I took the course hoping to gain a lot of insight on how to be a more effective leader," said DancEAthon captain Matt Frees '17. "I really felt drawn towards the cause of helping fund research at CHOP."
Lower, Middle, and Upper School students and teachers took part in the eight-hour dance event held from 2:00 - 10:00 p.m. in the Competition Gym.
"Our students really started from the ground up and tried to perfect most aspects of the event right from the get-go," explained Upper School math teacher and JTerm instructor Kelly Edwards. "They wanted to set the bar high for years to come and knew that a successful first year would set the tone and expectation for future events."
After the two-week JTerm class ended in January, the group continued its work, planning, and fundraising.
"The biggest challenge was planning out the event minute-by-minute and trying to decide who could perform when and where and which performances or events would be best for which age group that was present," explained DancEAthon captain Reilly Wright '17.
"This was a tremendous group of kids who planned and organized our first DancEAthon," said JTerm instructor and Upper School math teacher Jim Farrell. "They got a lot of buy-in from their teachers and classmates. They were enthusiastic and did everything that was asked of them."
"The most useful thing I learned was that not everything goes how you expect it to," observed Matt. "We didn't know exactly what to expect with it being the first DancEAthon, but we learned how to roll with whatever was thrown at us."
"It took an army to pull off this event," said Edwards. "But between our awesome DancEAthon captains and the support from the EAPA, EQV, student council, our video production and photography students, our faculty and administrators, and our sports teams, we were able to pull off a dance marathon that will hopefully appeal to the student body for years to come."
"The highlight for me was the amount of money that we raised. It exceeded our original goal by thousands of percents," said Matt.
"I think my highlight was seeing the testimonials by Grace Haupt '20, the Herman family, and Mrs. Nancy Taylor. They really put the event in perspective for me and showed me how much good an event like this could bring.," said Reilly. "Although we may have been worrying about the small details and the participation by the students, their speeches showed me what was truly important and what an impact we could create."
EA alumni James Costalas '13 and Robyn Farrell '13 met with EA students during JTerm to share their experiences
working on THON while students at Penn State. The class also worked closely with coordinators at CHOP.
The DancEAthon more than tripled its initial goal. Much of the money was raised with a "Change for CHOP" collection in all three EA divisions.
"We are surrounded by generous families here at EA and having a connection so close to our school community really helped to motivate our dedicated DancEAthon team," said Edwards.
"I can't wait to see where this event will go in the future. I'm sure it will become a big part of the EA calendar!" shared Reilly.
The total raised was $42,556.31