Bishop McCort Mini-THON

Bishop McCort Catholic High School Mini-THON members hold up the total amount for the 2019-20 fundraiser on Friday, May 15, 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic may have caused unforeseen complications to this year’s Bishop McCort Catholic High School Mini-THON, but that didn’t stop the students from raising $36,134.54, the most money in the history of the event.

“In the face of adversity, they smashed through it,” Principal Tom Smith said about the students.

After schools across the state were forced to close in March, it put an end to the annual 12-hour dance marathon and fundraiser that culminates months of work.

The event was set to take place March 27 and 28.

Senior students and this year’s event chairs, Abigail Instone, Nick McGowan and Cassady Tercek, weren’t about to let that stop them.

Instone said when the group found out that the marathon wouldn’t be taking place, they immediately started figuring out alternative plans.

The members didn’t want to let the work they started in October go to waste, and not let the children who benefit from the fundraiser down.

“We pretty much scraped for every dollar we could,” McGowan said.

Rich Denhard, faculty adviser for the group, explained that the students worked hard to continue the fundraiser and were “adamant” that they wanted to finish it and hold a sign-flipping ceremony.

“It’s an amazing feat,” he said about the amount raised.

Mini-THON members gathered in the courtyard Friday, surrounded by a small group of faculty and staff, to flip the signs and show how their hard work had paid off.

Smith said it spoke to the character of the students that they were willing to not drop the fundraising event and wanted to continue, despite a non-traditional ending.

“This is the message we want to send here at McCort,” Smith added.

Even with a happy ending, the students were still a little upset they didn’t get to have their own marathon.

Tercek said she and her fellow chairs had spent years looking forward to hosting an event of their own.

Not getting that and having to be quarantined for the past few months put the whole fundraiser in better perspective for them.

She and Instone commented on the similarities of the current pandemic situation, events the seniors are missing out on and what children with cancer have to go through all the time.

That insight gave them “extra incentive to try harder to raise as much as possible,” Instone said.

Funds raised by the students will go to benefit the Four Diamonds Foundation at the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital.

Since starting this endeavor, and including this year’s amount, Bishop McCort has raised nearly $140,000 to support families dealing with pediatric cancer.

Instone said it means a lot that “such a small school and a small senior class can raise so much money.”

Joshua Byers is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @Journo_Josh.

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