From human-hungry-hippos, to flash mobs, students and teachers at Sackville High School are pumping-up the energy and fundraising initiatives in the lead-up to their annual SHS Dance Marathon for the IWK.
The countdown has begun for the big event, which will host dancers and teams from 18 schools in Halifax Regional Municipality and takes place on April 16 from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. at SHS.
“We’re challenging each student to raise $50 … and if 1,000 of our participants raise $50 we will reach our $50,000 goal for the IWK,” says Lara Fawthrop, SHS music teacher.
Dance Marathon in aid of Children’s Miracle Hospitals initiated a number of years ago, but only recently came to Canada, says Marilyn MacGibbon, vice-principal at SHS. Last year the school exceeded by more than double it’s fundraising goal, raising an excess of $20,000.
“We were one of the first schools to really embrace it … and we were the most successful school last year, so this year we’ve raised our fundraising goal to $50,000,” says MacGibbon.
Down the hall, local award-winning musician Mike Ryan from The Town Heroes kicked back with five music students to compose an original piece of music for the upcoming event. “It’s a positive song geared at getting the kids excited,” says Ryan.
The five students are excited to perform the original piece, entitled “Strength In Numbers,” and The Town Heroes will perform for about an hour during the SHS Dance Marathon. While Grade 12 percussionist Matt Hustins Macdonald says he can’t dance, he plans to put his talent to good use. “Its good for me to use what I’m good at and be able to help out … there’s always something you can do,” says Hustins Macdonald.
Music student Daniel Winters plays piano in the school band and says he’s proud to be contributing to the marathon.
“And when I’m not playing, I’ll be dancing for the kids who can’t,” says Winters, drawing inspiration from the song lyrics.
Doherty says she is emotionally invested in the event and sparking new ways to get the students involved, such as putting teachers on skateboards and having students manoeuvre them as human-hungry-hippos. With laundry hampers in hand, students donated $120 to watch the teachers attempt to capture 1,300 plastic balls rolling throughout the school lobby.
On March 31, Grade 11 student Marley Repchull led supporters in a flash mob Morale Dance, while other students were ‘bringing home the bacon.’
“It’s a play on a piggybank,” says Doherty.
“Our co-president Sam Butler brought in $100 in nickels,” says Grade 11 student Elicia Taylor. “Whoever has the heaviest donation gets to donate the sum of the donations in their own name (to help reach their individual fundraising goal),”says Taylor.
A wise strategist, Butler changed her $100 in fundraising to heavy, five cent nickels, weighing-in at 50 lbs. and registering an error on the scale.
“The Morale Dance takes place (during the dance marathon) at the top of every hour to announce the next miracle kid, so it’s our pump-up song,” says Doherty. “We’ve got five kids coming from the IWK and at the top of every hour they take the stage and they tell their story. Our kids take a knee (kneel on one knee) and listen to the children’s stories.”
“Overall, the event shows the kids that there are people who have overcome greater challenges than they could ever imagine happening in their own lives,” says MacGibbon.
“We want to help the IWK continue to do the amazing work they do,” smiles Doherty.
Donations to support the event can be made through the school or at SHS Dance Marathon on www.helpmakemiracles.ca. For Dancer and Team Registration visit the school’s website.