Rocky Fork Enterprise

Dance marathon

GahannaThon partners with OSU to help kids

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Gahanna Lincoln High School students want to stand for children who can't by hosting a five-hour dance marathon.

The fundraiser, called GahannaThon, will run from 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2, in the gym and hallways of the high school.

Event coordinator Brooke Motsinger said GahannaThon is a party with a purpose in partnership with BuckeyeThon, Ohio State University's student philanthropy that benefits the hematology/oncology unit at Nationwide Children's Hospital, where every child is treated regardless of ability to pay.

Motsinger, Lincoln's student council president, said students would pay $15 to attend the GahannaThon and every additional $5 will provide a raffle ticket and a chance to win prizes during the event. The goal for Lincoln's first dance marathon is to raise $8,000.

Anyone wanting to make a donation to the cause may do so through DonorDrive online at helpmakemiracles.org or by making a cash or check donation through a student or by dropping a donation at the front office at the high school.

Sponsored by Lincoln's student council, Motsinger said, GahannaThon isn't just a dance.

"It's more of a celebration to keep kids moving and dancing," she said. "We'll do different activities throughout the night. The night will be all about the children and their bravery. The mission is to let kids be kids."

GahannaThon will involve numerous clubs and organizations within the high school that will either host an activity or perform during the event.

Activities include a cake walk, a photo booth, corn hole, Israeli dancing, Wii and Zumba.

Performances will feature chorale, jazz club, The high school football team, Performance Studio, the marching band, student dance group Creative Rambunctious Innovative Dancers and several speakers.

"GahannaThon is a chance for the students to unite as a school and accomplish something larger than ourselves," Motsinger said.

She and several other student council members attended a high school dance marathon retreat at OSU.

"We collaborated with other high schools to generate ideas for the event," she said. "At the retreat, we challenged Pickerington North to a friendly competition of who can fundraise the most funds. We also learned different strategies from other high schools and BuckeyeThon leaders regarding how to host a dance marathon."

Student council adviser Chris Wagner said GahannaThon was developed from a perfect storm of events.

"Two of student council's big goals for the year were to create an event that helped strengthen the feeling of the 'GLHS family' and to continue to reach out to improve their community," he said. "They knew that they wanted to create an event that incorporated multiple organizations at the high school to give back."

At the same time, Wagner said, former student council president and 2011 graduate Matt Mangia approached him about a partnership with OSU's BuckeyeThon, an organization with which he had been working in college.

"Student council agreed that before us was a great opportunity to partner with OSU and our own student organizations while working for something as simple as ensuring the right to have a childhood," Wagner said. "The council came to the conclusion that it would be worth giving up their winter homecoming in order to hold the event."

BuckeyeThon has been working with high schools from around central Ohio to establish dance marathons, raising more than $55,000 in 2012.

According to BuckeyeThon's website, other dance marathons to benefit Children's Hospital include Reynoldsburg RaiderThon, Feb. 2; Bexley High School, Feb. 9; Metro School MetroThon, Feb. 15; Pickerington North, March 16; and Olentangy Liberty's Patri-a-thon, April 6.

Over the past decade, BuckeyeThon has grown to become the premier philanthropic organization and a signature event at OSU. Last year's 12-hour dance marathon raised more than $450,000 for Children's Hospital.

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