South Williamport students hold 2nd annual TinyTHON

IOANNIS PASHAKIS/Sun-Gazette Central Elementary school student Olivia Miller plays limbo with her classmates during the two hour dance marathon.

South Williamsport elementary students raised $3,809 for childhood cancer research in the second annual TinyTHON.

Students from South Williamsport High School’s THON club hosted over 170 students from Central and Rommelt Elementaries on Feb. 9, for a two hour dance marathon.

THON, the largest student run philanthropy organization in the world, has raised over $147,000,000 for children and families dealing with childhood cancer and for the past seven years, South Williamsport High School students have participated in their own version of the famous dance marathon.

Last year the high school students began TinyTHON as an opportunity to teach their peers in the elementary school what it means to donate money to a cause they believe in.

“It brings the community together,” Mike Allison, high school teacher and THON club advisor, said. “Just to give them something to concentrate on as far as helping others and knowing that we can focus on a health issue that’s out there not only in our community but the entire state.”

To participate in the event, students between third and sixth grades donated a minimum of $15 a person, many students donating more than the minimum, with the promise that for the two hours of TinyTHON, no one would be sitting down or leaving the dance floor.

Many students in the district have seen what childhood cancer does to their friends and their families and want to help out when they learn where the proceeds for the event go, according to Kathy Furman, Central Elementary’s principal.

“We have had several of our students diagnosed and go through treatments for cancer,” Furman said. “So the kids being able to help and do something for their classmates is an awesome thing and that’s why I think we get such a great response.”

High school student’s planned and hosted the event and had activities such as dodgeball, limbo and a variety of specific dances planned to keep the participants busy.

“We do this so they know what kids their age are going through,” Bella Bacheman, high school student and organizer for the event, said.

Raising the money is a crucial part of the event, but according to Furman, it also helps solidify a number of goals that the school has for its students.

“We just started a new behavioral program. We call it SOUTH and one of the elements is helping others,” Furman said. “This helps us push home a lot of those things in that acronym. To use kindness, to take responsibility and to help others.”

Compared to last year, the event raised about $1,000 more and had around 40 to 50 more students and according to Allison, the high school’s THON club will be looking at holding next year’s TinyTHON in a high school gymnasium.