Mt. Vernon plans dance marathon to benefit hospital

FORTVILLE — There will be dancing, carnival games and more.

Mt. Vernon High School students hope to raise $10,000 to benefit children staying at Riley Hospital for Children, and they need the community’s help.

National Honor Society students are planning the final details and pulling in whatever donations they can ahead of their dance marathon planned for Friday.

The event, conducted in the high school’s gymnasium, is open to the public from 3:30 to 5 p.m., and students hope community members join in on the fun for the cause that started years ago and has since spread to schools across the state.

Mt. Vernon’s is the only local event planned for this year; Greenfield-Central has moved its annual event to next fall.

Proceeds from the event go toward the hospital’s palliative care program, which seeks to improve the quality of life of children suffering from incurable diseases, and the Magic Castle Cart Program, which distributes more than 20,000 gifts annually to Riley patients and their families in hopes of brightening their stays at the hospital.

Riley, which opened in 1924 and has since become one of the top pediatric research hospitals in the country, serves an average of 30,000 patients from all 92 counties each year. Across the state, some 80 dance marathons are hosted annually to benefit the hospital’s programs.

Riley dance marathons have become popular fundraisers since the first one took place at Indiana University in 1991. Since then, colleges and high schools across the state have hosted events, bringing in millions of dollars to the hospital.

Last year, Mt. Vernon raised nearly $8,000 for the hospital during the annual event. Since the beginning of the school year, students have raised about $3,500 through school-wide fundraisers.

National Honor Society students also are fundraising on their own.

Next week’s dance marathon begins at 1:30 p.m. for students who choose to leave class early to attend. They pitch in $5 and can ditch their last class of the day to partake in the fun.

Locally, it’s the National Honor Society’s biggest fundraiser of the year, with students spending months planning the event and seeking donations, said senior Alyssa Powell, vice president of the organization.

So far, they’ve sold Mt. Vernon mugs, hosted a blacklight volleyball event and invited teachers to pay $5 to wear jeans to school.

Justin Goff, a math teacher and honor society adviser, said his students have been working all year to tweak the event, adding events they believe their classmates will enjoy, to increase participation. The event will feature a flip the bottle game and giant Jenga, he said.

The event supports a popular cause, said senior Emily Annakin, the group’s historian. Everyone knows someone who has spent time at Riley, she said.

“This is for kids who are going through a really hard time in their life,” she said. “It really shows that our community is strong and that they support people that are going through a hard time.”

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Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or