During Warrensburg High School’s Marathon Dance held Jan. 12, Deejay Andy Pratt of Bolton reads the number off a winning ticket for a gift basket, as students react to the results. Kelly Angell (second from left )was the winner in this drawing — one of dozens. The annual event has raised $23,000 for charity over its three years of existence.
With towering speakers pumping out a steady beat, dozens of Warrensburg Central School students gyrated to the rythym reflected in multi-colored lights flashing through the darkness of the school gymnasium Saturday Jan. 12.
The students in the gym had earned the right to be participating in the annual Warrensburg Marathon Dance by raising $50 or so each for charity.
Seventh grader John Kelly offered his thoughts about the 12-hour dance, due to conclude at midnight.
“It’s fun and it’s loud,” he said, after watching friends cavort on the dance floor, accomplish a stunt with a hula hoop or participate in games led by deejay Andy Pratt of Bolton.
“It’s wild,” classmate Garry Ross agreed. “It’s fun to hang out with a bunch of your friends, and it’s cool to be raising money for charity.”
John Kelly echoed the point.
“It’s fun to help people in need — it feels good,” he added.
The several dozen students, with the help of many generous individuals and businesses in the area, raised nearly $7,000 for charitable causes through the Dance Marathon.
Event advisor Marlene DeLongis said Tuesday that the Dance Marathon, over its three years of existence, had raised a total of $23,000 for local people and families facing various needs.
“The kids did a great job of raising money, and we had a great group of parents and school staff who annually show up to make this happen,” she said.
DeLongis said that a group of students helping organize the event would be talking this week with advisors about how to allowcate the proceeds. Among the charities they’ve alredy talked about are Operation Santa Claus, North Country Ministry, High Peaks Hospice, and the Ben Osborn Memorial Fund, she said.
“All are great causes,” she said. “The heart of the Marathon is to give back to people in need in the local community.”
During the event, the students played musical chairs, engaged in various contests including air drumming and lip synching, Pratt said.
“The students were a lot of fun and so respectful,” he said. “It was refreshing.”
Teenager Riley Fisk said the event was not only fun, but it offered timely rewards for community members facing hardship.
“The Marathon was held for a good cause,” she said. “A lot of people need help right now with the economy as bad as it is.”
Her friend, Shelby Brainard offered a similar view.
“We all had a good time while helping others,” she said.
The event was open to parents and the public from noon to 8 p.m., during which bids were placed in silent auctions for goods and services donated by area businesses and individuals.
The various gift baskets prompted robustbidding. Among items donated were a bird house and bird feed donated by the WCS second grade teachers, a basket of maple products from Mike Hill of Thurman, and a Burgher spectator chair, branded sweatshirt, umbrella and cap, all donated by the WCS Football Booster Club.
Warrensburg High School Principal Doug Duell said the generosity of the people in the region was “phenomenal.” He characterized the event as a success.
“The Dance Marathon offers a great opportunity for the kids to do something meaningful for others,” he said. “Not everybody’s here tonight, but those who are here are having a great time while doing something important for others in the area communities.