Dance for a cause

A look on CAT's Dance Marathon in the past and present

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Photo courtesy of: Grayce Thierauf

SENIOR Lydia Graves and Yousuf Munir, ‘21, take a break from dancing at the 2019 CAT Dance Marathon. The theme was the beloved 80s. “People honestly just bring what they can, dance as long as they can, and just have fun...that’s the intent of the event,” SENIOR Grayce Thierauf said.

“Meow!” rings through the PA system as the Community Action Team (CAT) signs off on the morning announcements. The club receives a few chuckles from the student body, but not much of a “memorable impact” was displayed.

 However, this club does a lot more than coincidentally have a catchy club acronym. They live up to what they stand for: causing action and making changes for the local community. From raking leaves to serving in soup kitchens, CAT impacts the community in many ways. Especially noble is the club’s annual Dance Marathon. Although the event was cancelled this year due to coronavirus, in the past, it has been filled with fun, prizes, and a theme. The club worked to create an exciting event as they raise awareness for a perpetual virus and fundraise for those affected by it. 

Imagine this: nostalgic 2000s hits are pumping in the Arts and Science wing of WHHS and all grades nine to 12 rock out in their Spice Girls outfits and stiletto sneakers. It’s a time of ultimate excitement with your friends, without having to worry about the restrictions of a school-organized dance. 

The dance marathon, usually held in the forum of WHHS, is an event that SENIOR Grayce Thierauf describes as “the best school dance I’ve ever been to”. Thierauf is the co-president of CAT, alongside SENIORS Lydia Graves and Kara Flaspohler. The annual Dance Marathon, similar to one in the popular 70s movie Grease, has been around for over a decade. 

“We first made the Dance Marathon to fundraise for the Caracole Foundation… They basically are a foundation based in Cincinnati that helps with AIDS/HIV research and helps people with AIDS/HIV to get jobs and housing,” Thierauf said. 

People with HIV/AIDS are often stigmatized, which mostly stems from the stigma that surrounds the virus itself. This caused much misinformation to be spread about the disease. A common misconception is that the disease is only transmitted sexually and only affects gay men. However, this couldn’t be any more false. As you might have acquired from health class, HIV/AIDS can be transmitted by any bodily fluid, such as blood, and through dirty, unsanitized needles. This means that anyone could contract the disease. 

We first made the Dance Marathon to fundraise for the Caracole Foundation”

— SENIOR Grayce Thierauf

“There’s also controversy dealing with the spiraling tunnel of poverty where people who are impoverished and affected by HIV or AIDS don’t have the money to pay for the medical bills… This is just one facet of helping to get rid of some of that stigma about our impoverished and homeless population,” Thierauf said. 

One of the Caracole Foundation’s values listed on their website is relentless advocacy, consisting of “eliminating the negative impact and stigma from our local communities and beyond,” which CAT has become a large vessel for.

Now, events like the Dance Marathon tend to get pretty complex. With rules, time limits and the pressure of competition, a breakdown of how it all works is in order.

The goal is to raise money based on how many hours you dance. So the fee of $10 presents the net amount of each hour that you dance. 

“It’s also a competition on how hard you can dance… Part of it is me, Grayce and Kara walking around with scissors and you have to keep dancing unless you get your wristband cut (eliminating you from competition),” Graves said.

Many of the WHHS students highly enjoy the dance marathon, despite its competitiveness. 

At the marathon, there are prizes that are awarded throughout the night. These are meant to encourage students to continue dancing. At the dance, there are multiple teen-loved festivities that include free Dewey’s Pizza, Starbucks gift cards and even gift bags for anyone who survives the first few hours of the event.

This event has been canceled due to social distancing and the Coronavirus.