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Miracles of Pennridge Mini-THON

An inside look at Pennridge High School’s efforts to battle childhood cancer
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@phsmthon Instagram
Pennridge High School Mini-THON Fundraiser

On May 20, 2023, Pennridge Mini-THON raised $28,139.69 in its efforts to battle childhood pediatric cancer. Pennridge, along with roughly 200 other schools in the country, equaling around 90,000 students, work every school year to raise money for the research and treatment of childhood cancer. Organized by the Four Diamonds organization, Mini-THON is branched from Pennsylvania State University’s largest and most popular fundraiser known as the Penn State Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON). Hundreds of students at Penn State University stand together every year in a 46-hour dance marathon to protest against pediatric cancer. In 2023, Pennridge hosted around 200 students, but in the past years has hosted closer to 400 to 450.

Since its creation in 1972, Four Diamonds has helped to house and treat more than 4,800 children battling cancer, where children eligible to be supported by Four Diamonds and have their medical and hospital bills covered while being treated at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital. Its creation originated from Christopher Millard, an 11-year-old boy who, before passing from childhood pediatric cancer in 1969, wrote a short story surrounding a knight who wore the four pledges of courage, wisdom, honesty, and strength. Millard’s parents began Four Diamonds over the next three years using their son’s story to create the four diamonds honored throughout the organization.

Pennridge Mini-THON, along with the other participating schools throughout the country, have raised around $6.2 million in their efforts to support the Four Diamonds organization. Their efforts have spread throughout the country like wildfire, inspiring thousands of families. Angela Schoettle, an advisor for the past eight years for Pennridge Mini-THON, spoke about the importance of family throughout the club, stating “As I got more involved with it I realized it was a family and there was just something really powerful about that.” Schoettle also speaks on the dedication of the Pennridge advisors throughout the club, and how much effort and work is brought into the organized fundraiser every year. This club brings together students and faculty members in so many ways, benefiting each member who contributes. “It benefits the students who are involved because they learn so much through doing this, like project management, financial management, leadership skills, and communication skills,” says Schoettle.

Along with dedication, this club encourages students to work together, and form bonds with teachers and other students. Mia Maialetti is currently a 2024 member of Pennridge Mini-THON and works with the other members to prepare for this year’s main event which will take place on April 6 from 1:00-9:00 p.m. Pennridge Mini-THON includes many different activities, one of their most popular being their line dancing group, which practices day after day to perfect a dance which is done every hour at the main event. Maialetti says, “The event is also just so much fun! We play games, have a rave, have bouncy houses, have an ice cream stand and so many more fun things to do with your friends!” Mini-THON brings together hundreds of Pennridge students each year in an 8-hour marathon as opposed to Penn State’s 46-hour marathon.

This year, Pennridge Mini-THON’s main event lasts from 1:00-9:00 p.m. This year’s advisors include Pennridge faculty members, Nicole Gordienko, Allyson Kearney, Megan Graham, and Felicia Borghi. Pennridge’s goal for this year is to raise $40,000 to go towards the Four Diamonds organization, which is well on its way to achieving this. Schottle states, “I think they definitely have the capability to succeed, but it really depends on student involvement and how many students actually show up to it.” Other fundraisers for Mini-THON are scattered throughout the school year such as Pennridge’s Gold Out football game in September of each year, Ball For A Cause, a school basketball game that raises money for the club, and Stall Day, where students are allowed to stall their class while teachers count the endless donations made by students. Pennridge Mini-THON offers endless fun, friendship, and inspiration to students and faculty every year, and at the end of the day, truly lights up the lives of hundreds of children from around the country in their effort to treat childhood pediatric cancer alongside the Four Diamonds organization.

Sources:
https://www.facebook.com/PennridgeTHON?mibextid=eQY6cl
https://www.instagram.com/phsmthon?igsh=c3FoZDAwNmR0OXM4
https://www.pennridge.org/domain/1248
https://fourdiamonds.donordrive.com/
https://www.fourdiamonds.org/mini-thon/

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About the Contributor
Paige Fenley, Student Writer
Paige Fenley, Grade 11. Her interests/hobbies include playing hockey for Pennridge Girls Ice Hockey, going hiking, drawing, creative writing, hanging out with friends and family, traveling, listening to music, and attending concerts of her choice, and many others. With a year still left at PHS, she plans to begin applying to colleges such as SUNY New Paltz University, Boulder University, and the University of Oregon.  She hopes to study an English-related career path, now becoming interested in pursuing Journalism as an option.

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