The Daily Iowan
By Savannah Guyer
It’s not just for college kids.
Through mini versions of their college counterparts, high schools in Iowa City have been able to raise thousands of dollars for Dance Marathon, proving that college students aren’t always the only ones involved.
The University of Iowa Dance Marathon’s Big Event is coming up on Feb. 5 and 6, and students have continued to raise awareness about the coming occasion.
Mini Dance Marathons are events held at local Iowa City schools in which participating students can experience a miniature version of Dance Marathon. Teachers and parents of students usually organize the events with assistance from UI Dance Marathon members.
“Mini Dance Marathons are put on to spread the word about Dance Marathon and to get the community involved, all while raising money for the organization,” said Carly Crocker, a third-year participant in Dance Marathon and a first-year morale captain. “It’s really fun, and we get the opportunity to interact with kids within the local areas.”
Caitlyn Burke, the mini Dance Marathon head, said the mini events benefit not only the community but the entire organization as a whole.
The mini Dance Marathon program also helps spread awareness about Dance Marathon across the state in a way members couldn’t do as college students alone, she said.
“Mini Dance Marathons are a way for students to learn the value of philanthropy and helping others at an early age,” Burke said. “Over the past few years, we have started to see [Marathon] dancers and leadership members who have been involved in the Dance Marathon movement for four plus years because of mini Dance Marathons.”
Crocker said she has been to more than 10 mini Dance Marathon events over the last couple of weeks, despite not going to any in years prior.
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“Most schools seem pretty familiar with the idea,” she said. “They have goals for how much money to raise along with attendance and stuff like that.”
Crocker said she was very impressed with the outcome from this year’s mini Dance Marathons.
“Each event makes around $2,000 each, which is great, and it also gets the whole community involved,” she said. “West High School here in Iowa City made like $95,000 — it was just incredible.”
Gregg Shoultz, the principal of West High, said the school made just a little bit over $95,000, which exceeded its goal by $30,000.
“We have a group of teachers who have been at the core of our mini Dance Marathon for the past four years — they had probably around 400 dancers this time, and they did a series of intense fundraising, and every student involved was responsible for raising money,” Shoultz said. “We also had some students from the UI come out to inform and advise people.”
Regardless of how much Iowa West High was able to raise, Shoultz said the event was more about the experience than anything.
“It’s not necessarily about the money, but about the experience,” Shoultz said. “They weren’t just focusing on beating cancer but talking about how to combat every aspect of it together as a community united together.”
Burke said she was amazed with the outcome of not only West’s contribution to the organization but every school involved with the event.
“We’re impressed with the dedication and commitment of all the students, faculty, and parents at West High and our other mini Dance Marathon schools,” Burke said. “These schools contribute a large amount to our tote board and help us make an even bigger impact in the lives of the families and kiddos we support.”