Several days before Warrensburg High School's Marathon Dance held Saturday Jan. 14, student Amber Smith, 18 (left), and her mother Martha Smith sell raffle tickets to raise money in conjunction with the event.
The number of participants in Warrensburg High School’s second annual Marathon Dance may have decreased substantially this year, but the prevailing charitable spirit and fun made up for it, event organizers said.
Although 117 students signed up for the event, 77 showed up to dance the night away — from 7 p.m. Saturday Jan. 14 to 7 a.m. the following morning.
Regardless of the decline, preliminary accounting indicates that the total of cash received through donations and various raffles exceeded $8,000 — surpassing the $7,500 or so raised last year, volunteer parent Martha Smith said Sunday.
Smith answered questions about the event Sunday, as event spokeswoman Marlene DeLongis had only logged three hours sleep in the past 36 hours.
Smith said that during the dance, deejay Andy Pratt of Bolton engaged the students in a variety of activities and contests as well as playing popular tunes. She said Pratt donated his services for the event.
“He was very good with the kids, keeping them moving through the night,” she said.
Also, about 20 parents donated their time and talents to the marathon, which raised money to benefit North Country Ministry, High Peaks Hospice, the local American Red Cross chapter and the local Sons of the American Legion group. Warrensburg students on the Marathon Dance committee chose the organizations. The parent volunteers worked primarily at the registration and raffle tables and in the kitchen. In addition to the parents on site, many others brought in food and other donations.
Featured during the evening’s activities was a tribute to the late Brent Bertrand, beloved WCS Technology teacher and softball coach who died last week.
A projector set up in the school cafeteria — where the raffles were taking place — showed a series of photographs of Bertrand at work at WCS through his 28-year career. Also, Pratt played several of Bertrand’s favorite songs, urging students to recall his attributes as they danced, Smith said.
Key to the successful cash proceeds of the Marathon Dance was the participation of sixth graders, who held fundraisers in the months leading up to the dance.
While the high schoolers had to raise $50 to participate — double last year’s requirement — the sixth graders had a $20 minimum to reach. About 15 sixth graders joined in the night’s activities, and Smith said the high school students had a welcoming attitude toward the younger set.
“The elementary students were well-received and integrated into all the activities,” she said.
Smith said dozens of area businesses were remarkably generous. She noted that Stewart’s Shops donated milk, eggs, bread and other goods.
“They came through with a ton of food,” she said.
Although pleased with the proceeds, Marathon Dance organizers have talked about how to boost participation in the event, noting that holding the event on a three-day weekend may exclude students who are on a getaway vacation with their families.
Also, an idea was proposed to hold the event from noon to midnight, to boost dancers’ energy levels, Smith said.
“This year’s event was fun, but we seek to make it bigger and better every year,” she said. “Our goal is to do as much as we can for the community.”