WALLENPAUPACK - Eager to dance, but driven to support a cause, nearly 20 students will be working to raise funds for pediatric cancer December 16.

Members of the Mini-THON club at Wallenpaupack Area High School have taken it upon themselves to start a club solely focused on supporting Four Diamonds, at Penn State Children’s Hospital in Hershey that aims to conquer childhood cancer. 

After hosting their first 15-hour Mini-THON last year and raising $7423.42 with just 56 students, the dancers want to attract more people to raise more money at their March 2 Mini-THON. Club Advisor and Foreign Language Teacher Patti Frey said to raise even more money would simply be “amazing.” 

And so, members of the Mini-THON club will host Breakfast with Santa Saturday, December 16 from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. at the Wallenpaupack North Primary School cafeteria. Cost is $5.00 per person and children under 3 are free.

Many of the students involved last year and now, are also members of the Volunteers in Paupack (VIP) club and together, they danced for 15 hours straight. But now, wanting even more participants, the March 2 event will run for 12 hours, noon till midnight. 

For those who dance, people can sponsor individual dancers or teams of dancers. The dancers are also supposed to get donations from people, and every student at some point will have a donor page for people to connect to. That will be ready in January. 

Although the students are excited to participate and support the cause, Frey said there will be “incentives for raising money.” The students are considering a team trophy for the group that raises the most and so that, will be something for the students to “strive for.” As well, wanting more students involved, the club would like other extracurricular clubs to join in the fun. 

To learn more, last year members of the VIP club attended a summit in Hershey, where Jake Mitchell who is a junior said many ideas were considered. Throughout the year the students are working to raise funds, but the Mini-THON will be the largest event. Some students worked at Hawley Harvest Hoedown, some will be at Winterfest selling hot chocolate and coffee and there are plans for “chuck a duck” at home basketball games where participants pay to “whip a rubber ducky”  onto a tarp, trying for the target and perhaps winning a prize, Frey explained. Most of the money raised will be from people donating to the individual dancers or teams for the actual Mini-THON. The support of the community for last year’s Mini-THON was great, Frey said, with the likes of Lake Region IGA giving food and water. 

This year, the Mini-THON club has invited eighth graders to join in, so they can get an idea of what the club offers before they enter high school. 

Mitchell, who is the president of the VIP club, said he enjoys raising money for Four Diamonds because he has been personally affected by cancer and so, he realizes what parents are dealing with if they have children fighting cancer. 

A member of the Mini-THON club, senior Natalie Olsommer, is excited for the Mini-THON because dancing, she said is “pretty liberating.” Being able to dance is something people sometimes take for granted and so, through the event, people may realize what they are able to do, while also supporting a cause. 

A senior and member of the Mini-THON club, Katie Lane attended the summit where she said the club members learned a lot about community outreach and so, during the WAHS Mini-THON there will be a community hour for parents to join in. Having raised more than $7,000 last year, Lane said the community can help raise even more March 2. 

Taking part in the Mini-THON is fun Lane said, because students who may not have the chance to know each other, are becoming friends and working together for “something greater than themselves.”

Reservations for the breakfast with Santa are requested by December 12, by calling 570-226-4557 ext. 5280 or mitschma@wallenpaupack.org.