Co-president of Centennial High School’s dance marathon, Jordan DeLuce, could not believe her eyes when she saw $4,637 was made for the dance marathon in twenty-four hours. DeLuce and her co-president had pushed the executive board to try to raise 1.5k in the 24 hours, but ended up raising more than double the original goal. The junior at Centennial High School said “I was so overwhelmed with joy and so proud of all of them. This was the biggest moment to me and reassured me of how much a difference we really are making.”

The 7th annual Dance Marathon is happening on April 20 from 6 to 10 p.m at Centennial High School. “It was started in the 2011/2012 school year because Grace Khachaturian had a passion for the cause, and believed that high school students could make a difference in the lives at St. John's Children Hospital,” explains DeLuce. DeLuce is heavily involved in the Dance Marathon; she is a top fundraiser for Centennial High School with up to $1,725 as a junior. “It means the world to me because it makes me feel that even though I am a junior in high school that I can make a difference and affect other's lives. Raising money is a difficult thing but it has challenged me in the best of ways and made me push myself to do something great for these amazing families.”

There are 170 pediatric hospitals in the United States and Canada that are a part of the Children's Miracle Network, and Centennial High School is only one of over a hundred schools involved in the Miracle Network Dance Marathon. Student-run organizations participate in the program, where a 6 to 48 hour event includes students revealing and celebrating the year’s fundraising total, games, dancing, and entertainment. The students also meet with patient families treated at the local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. “We are hosting around 8-11 miracle families at our event this year. We provide them with a donated dinner to start off the night and then games, food, dancing, and music follows with participation from the public and Centennial students,” says DeLuce. She considers the event a wonderful way for students to communicate with the families and gain more awareness of what they are going through.

The event has brought joy and hope to families all over the country and has helped communities join together in hopes of making a change and helping others. “People should attend and donate because it is a heartwarming night full of beautiful stories, and you get to see the kids that you are donating money to there with the biggest smiles. It is honestly the best night of my year,” says DeLuce. 

Students, like DeLuce, are able to gain a year's worth of leadership opportunities, teamwork, and educational experiences through the planning of the Dance Marathon event, and students at Centennial High School have helped with this movement across North America in  in order to raise up to $180 million since 1991 for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. The fundraising done by the students helps patients in need to get a sense of hope, and creates a pathway to a future for each individual. Coming together in order to bring faith and opportunity for these families is only one way for the community to give back to those in need. Hopefully events such as these will help younger generations continue to give back and find better solutions towards solving communal problems.

Donations for the event will be accepted through midnight on April 28. You can donate to the cause here.