“It’s become a way to build a space at Clayton where people can come together and work towards benefitting something that is bigger than themselves.” For senior Ava Marsden, being part of the CHS Dance Marathon runs in her family. “My sister originally brought Dance Marathon to Clayton and then my brother was also in a leadership role for the club,” said Marsden. “It’s kind of become a family tradition.”
Fellow senior Maci Klaus also joined the club with Marsden during their freshman year.
“When we joined we were the only freshman in the club since it wasn’t really well known at the time,” said Klaus. “But we just kept doing it every year.” Since then, the pair has become the directors of the club.
Originating at Indiana University, the Dance Marathon Miracle Network is a national non-profit organization that partners with hospitals, colleges, and high schools to provide life-saving equipment, research, and education for children in need. The CHS Dance Marathon is just a small part of a much larger movement across the US.
Although the main goal of the club is to raise as much money as possible, Dance Marathon has also created a community at CHS.
“It’s become a way to build a space at Clayton where people can come together and work towards benefitting something that is bigger than themselves,” Klaus said.
The CHS Dance Marathon also has a large focus on bonding with the kids that they are helping.
“This year we have been able to meet the kids and form connections with them,” Marsden said. “We’ve already gone bowling with the Miracle Network Kids and we hope to have a few of them at our actual event.”
CHS Dance Marathon has also been able to connect students from different schools.
“When we went bowling, the Ladue Dance Marathon also joined us,” said Klaus. “It’s a great way to connect with other people in the community as well as really show the kids that are in the hospital that we are all here for them.”
A big difference for Dance Marathon this year is the size of their board. Marsden and Klaus made it a goal to recruit incoming freshmen to join the club and encourage them to become engaged and involved with Dance Marathon.
It’s become a way to build a space at Clayton where people can come together and work towards benefitting something that is bigger than themselves
— Maci Klaus
“Last spring we decided to go to Wydown and talk to the eighth graders about getting involved once they were Freshman,” Klaus said. “We noticed that in previous years there were hardly any Freshman involved in the club, so we really wanted to grow Dance Marathon and tell the younger kids what it was about.”
Currently, the Dance Marathon board has over 130 members, with 60 of them being Freshman. “In past years we’ve only had around 40 or 45 members, so it’s a big change to have this many people involved and we hope that it will increase the turnout of the actual event,” said Marsden.
For Junior, and Executive Board member, Gaby Soares joining Dance Marathon meant connecting with people that she wouldn’t usually meet.
“I joined Dance Marathon because I felt like I lived in a bubble where I was very fortunate and was able to get things without having to fight for them. There are so many kids out there who are less fortunate than me and who are fighting against illnesses and I wanted to ensure that they had access to the resources that they needed,” said Soares.
Soares is the head of the logistics team for the club. She, along with fellow Junior Abby Mann and Senior Wilson Stahl, oversees the logistical components of planning the Dance Marathon event.
“Last year I was a regular member of the club but after watching other board heads I wanted to be in that position so that I could make more of a difference,” said Soares. “As a head, it feels like I can do a lot more for the organization.”
“I love being in charge of logistics because we get to plan the actual event and I get to focus a lot more on how the event will actually run, which is very interesting,” said Soares.
The culmination of hours of work and planning ends with the final Dance Marathon event on March 9th. The event consists of 4 hours of no sitting to show support for kids with life-threatening illnesses.
“This year we are going to have a lot of activities to fill the event as well as a lot of dancing that our board members have helped choreograph throughout the year,” said Klaus.
From bowling and ice skating to donut drives before school, there are so many different ways that the Dance Marathon members have been able to raise money towards their goal. But they are only just getting started.
“100% of the proceeds that we raise go to the children’s hospital and go directly to helping the kids, so we hope that everyone is able to come to the event this year so that we can raise as much money as possible,” said Klaus.
The Globe intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and must be approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. The Globe does not allow anonymous comments, and The Globe requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.