EXETER — The “WA March Madness: Dancing For a Cure” Mini-THON event went better than expected earlier this year. So, Wyoming Area Secondary Center students and faculty members are doing it again.
Last year’s event, which was Wyoming Area’s first, exceeded expectations and raised over $28,000.
“I think we started it at about $10,000 or $15,000 and then, once we hit that, we kind of really realized we could raise more,” said English teacher Anthony Macario.
The event was open to the community from 5 to 9 p.m. and then only to Wyoming Area students until 5 a.m., and students involved said there were hundreds of people.
“We went to Gerrity’s and we got coffee and Monster (energy drinks),” freshman Jason Wiedl said about staying up all night. “That was extraordinary.”
The rest was donated to Four Diamonds and Little Eric’s Foundation.
According to its website, Four Diamonds was started in 1972 by Charles and Irma Milliard in honor of their son, Christopher, who died at the age of 14 from cancer.
Since its creation, Four Diamonds has helped more than 3,700 children and families and supported a diverse platform of childhood cancer research.
Little Eric’s Foundation was established in 2013 in memory of Eric J. Speicher Jr., a Wyoming Area student, who passed away from brain cancer at the age of 14.
Preparations for the next WA event began in October and students have already raised over $3,600. They’re planning to have the event in May to have more outdoor events such as kickball and an outdoor movie.
Students held a dress down day and upcoming events include a restaurant night on Nov. 20, movie night on Dec. 8, and an ugly sweater dance on Dec. 15.
Freshman Aubriana Marranca said preparations this year are much easier as some of the students attended a camp over the summer about THON organizing.
“We have more fundraising ideas,” she said. “That camp that we went to over the summer, we got a lot of ideas there. We’re thinking about doing a 5K, and then we have ‘Stall Day’ where students will bring in money and put it on the teacher’s desk and they can’t start teaching until they count all the money.”
Some students are also going out of their way to seek sponsors.
Eighth-grade student Toni Minichello said she and others are visiting businesses.
“We’re trying to find a bunch of sponsors that will give us an X amount of money to help with our shirts and all of the props that we’re getting,” she said. “We’re physically going around asking people. We’re going to restaurants, restaurant places and businesses.”
The students are hoping that, with the success of last year and early preparations for next year’s event, the result will be a larger attendance.
“I’m looking forward to the overall outcome of it,” said sophomore Jake Switzer. “Seeing how much we can raise in the however many months of preparation that we’ve had. Since our goal last year was so little, and now that we know what we’re doing, we have more to expand on to see how much we can do better this year, and then make it better throughout the years that we keep doing this.”