More than 230 students from Wellington High School stayed after school, and stayed on their feet, for seven hours recently at the school’s annual Dance Marathon, which set a statewide fundraising record.
Wellington High School’s fourth annual Dance Marathon on March 11 brought in a record $42,223.52 for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, the most raised by a high school in Florida.
The school nearly doubled the $25,000 fundraising goal that student organizers set for this year’s event, and raised more money than in the previous three years combined.
“It’s just so incredible to see them accomplish not just the initial fundraising goal that they wanted to reach, but to surpass it by such leaps and bounds,” said Melissa Varvarigos, WHS Student Government Association sponsor. “That moment when they raised the numbers, and everyone is so tired and exhausted, and then you see the total. It’s just outstanding.”
More than 150 Dance Marathon events are held at high schools, colleges and universities throughout the country. Students carry out the Dance Marathon mission statement: “We dance for those who can’t.”
Fundraising for the WHS Dance Marathon started at the beginning of the school year. A group of student volunteers led this year by student chair Sam Weingart planned and organized the entire event, with Varvarigos’ guidance, while other students focused on getting sponsorships from local businesses and recruiting student participants for the Dance Marathon.
Participants are required to stay on their feet for the entire event, which went from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Students had a variety of options to stay awake and standing. Participants danced to music from a D.J. and the school’s drum line. They were entertained by the school’s cheerleaders, dance company and dance team. They played basketball and volleyball.
They also heard stories from the families of children treated at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, including a Facetime chat with one family, to learn more about who benefits from the money they raise.
“It makes it more real to them, and they recognize that it’s not just about getting community service hours,” Varvarigos said. “It’s much bigger than that.”
With this year’s event in the books, organizers are now beginning work on next year’s Dance Marathon — and breaking their own fundraising record.
“We’re already talking about making the goal $50,000,” Varvarigos said.
ABOVE: WHS students celebrate a successful Dance Marathon.