Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 18, 2017

Swinging, spaghetti and song this Saturday

By Andy Hallman | Dec 04, 2012
Members of the Dance Marathon Committee who organized the event for Saturday are, from left, front row: Sammy Ellingson, Katy Wellington; second row: Tyler Hazelett, Holly Vittetoe, Beth Dillon, Lauren Carter and Lynnette Kennedy.

The new Washington High School will host its first Dance Marathon this Saturday when members of the community gather for food and a variety show before the dancing begins later that night.
The dance marathon committee will serve a pasta dinner from 4:30 to 7 p.m. in the high school commons Saturday night. That will be followed by the variety show from 6:30 to 8 p.m., and then finally the dance itself from 8 p.m. until midnight.
The dance is only open to high school students but the community is invited to the dinner and the show. Both the variety show and dance will take place in the former junior high gym. The committee members said that gym is preferable to the new one because it has a stage for the musicians and because they won’t have to lay tarp to protect the floor as they have in the past.
Tyler Hazelett said the former junior high gym is also better for dancing because it is smaller.
Cindy Kennedy and Tammie Schultz are in charge of making the pasta. Other parent volunteers will help the committee throughout the night. The committee members said they will prepare enough pasta to serve 400 people.
The variety show will feature acts from around the community. Among those performing are The Improv (an improvisational speech team), the high school dance team, Mr. Wieland and Mr. Langr, among others.  
The dance marathon is a fundraiser for the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. The Washington dance marathon is modeled after the University of Iowa’s dance marathon, except that the university’s marathon is 24 hours long.
Guest speakers with a personal connection to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital will share their stories throughout the night. The “morale team” from the University of Iowa will also be on hand to show the high schoolers some dances.  
Preparation for the dance marathon started about six months ago while the students were on summer vacation. A small committee met before school started and made a big push at the beginning of the school year to get students signed up for the committee, which now includes
100 students.
The students designed a dance marathon T-shirt which says “Don’t Stop Believing.” That T-shirt will be passed out to the students later this week.   
Beth Dillon said that a large part of the committee’s work is getting business sponsorships, which is where the bulk of their donations come from. The committee hopes to raise $9,000, substantially more than last year’s goal of $6,500.
Washington is among the best high schools in the state at raising money through dance marathon. The school was third in the state last year, and hopes to be No. 1 this year. If it reaches its $9,000 goal, it will have beaten the best school from last year.
Ellingson said that finding a date that works for everyone is tricky business. In previous years, Dance Marathon has fallen on the same weekend as the 4-H awards night. The committee wanted to avoid that this year, so it scheduled the dance marathon for later in the year. The dance marathon has typically been in mid-November.
The committee members are active in planning the school’s Homecoming, too. Lauren Carter said it was nice to push the dance marathon back a few weeks to give the committee more time to devote to it.
Carter said she has helped raised money for the Ronald McDonald House, and has a special place in her heart for the children helped by the dance marathon.
“It’s great to see how much these organizations help the families and the kids who are going through this,” she said. “That’s what motivates me.”
“We want to brighten their day,” Dillon said.
Carter said the dances will be upbeat and non-stop. Dillon said dance marathon is a caffeine-free event, so the dancers will have to keep themselves going on H20.

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