South High Marathon Dance organizers are hoping the March 4 and 5 event will top last year’s fundraising record of $621,680 to benefit the 43 recipients of the money announced this week.
About 200 applications were received and the seven student committee members got together to narrow them down, according to co-chairperson Lexi Potter. Alumni and local people are given priority.
“We don’t look for anything in particular – just a detailed application to see what each person really needs and to make sure they’re not asking for the money just to ask,” she said.
Among some of the recipients are the family of Michael “Perky” Perkins, who worked for the district as a custodian and building services supervisor until his death on Dec. 12; and Joellen Thompson, whose South Glens Falls house was hit by fire earlier this month.
Other recipients include Queensbury teenager Jeffery Jackson, who has a rare form of stomach cancer; 1-year-old Kellan Morehouse of Hudson Falls, who was born with congenital birth defect that has an opening in his diaphragm that allows the contents of his stomach to push up into his chest cavity; Hudson Falls senior Kacey-Hannah Sisco, who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia; Corinth resident Joelle Sutliff, a victim of serious car accident last July; and Glens Falls resident Julie Coon, who is battling breast cancer.
The dance will also help several organizations including the Angel Names Association, Lyme Action Network, Moreau Community Center, Open Door Mission, Project: Cameron’s Story, Rebuilding Together Saratoga County, Southern Adirondack Independent Living (SAIL) and The Ben Osborn Memorial Fund.
Co-chairperson Dillon Murphy said the students are eager to meet the recipients.
“We’re really excited in the coming weeks before the dance – meeting them personally and getting to know their stories, so we know who this money is going to,” he said.
More than 800 students – 80 percent of the student body – will be participating in the event. Each student is required to collect a minimum of $150 to be able to take part.
People can also donate online. Some of the students have set up accounts online, according to Potter.
Potter said students are getting very excited about the event. Two mandatory meetings for students who want to participate were held this week – one for the juniors and seniors and one for freshmen and sophomores.
At the end of the meeting, she said the committee showed a funny video about the rules of the event and then invited students to a dance-off competition.
Not much has changed about the event, according to Potter.
“We kind of keep the traditions the same,” she said.
One new feature is the committee is putting together the big group dance itself, according to Murphy.
This year’s theme is “space.” Over the next couple months, students will be working secretly in the art room to craft the decorations, which will be revealed the week of the event.
Co-chairperson Mackenzie Myott said this year’s costume themes are: "#relationshipgoals," "When I was a kid" and “Back to the Future.”
Potter said they enjoy collecting donations, decorating for the event and hearing from the recipients and “being able to be a part of an experience where we can change people’s lives and they are changing our lives as well.”
Myott said she also enjoys meeting the recipients and bonding with her peers.
Co-chairperson Nick Barden said one of the causes strikes close to home because he has been dealing with chronic Lyme disease for the past two years. He enjoys the sense of togetherness that permeates the school during the week leading up to the dance. It is like being a child at Christmas.
“When the dance itself finally comes together, it’s kind of breathtaking,” he said.
The event has raised more than $4.82 million for more than 365 beneficiaries in the 38 years of its existence.
The event is open to the public on March 4 from 7-10:30 p.m. and any time after 6:30 a.m. on March 5. Only registered dancers and other official participants are permitted on the dance floor.
Members of the community and business owners are also invited to donate items to be auctioned off. For more information, contact donations@SHMD.org. People interested in holding an event to benefit the dance are asked to contact organizers at firstname.lastname@example.org.