By Josee Li
At Council Rock High School North, the Nittany Lions logo of Penn State University is not hard to come by. Penn State sweatshirts, Penn State-bumper-sticker-laden cars, and Penn State plans among graduating seniors are all commonalities. So, it is safe to say that it is no surprise that Penn State’s prestigious annual THON event is admired and replicated at Council Rock North.
THON was organized in 1973 by a group of Penn State students, and today, THON is the longest dance marathon in the country at 46 hours. Each year, THON attracts about 15,000 students to help dance the hours away for conquering childhood cancer.
Deciding to follow THON’s tradition, the Council Rock North Indians adapted their own version of THON. Called Rock-a-Thon, this event is a 12-hour dance marathon that raises money to support our community and other worthy causes. Each year, Council Rock North has hundreds of student participants and raise thousands of dollars for an individual organization. Rock-a-Thon has been proudly serving as an illustration of a decade of service to anything from cancer research to the local theater.
This year, for the 9th annual Rock-a-Thon, the Student Executive Board (SEB) of Council Rock North decided to raise money for the organization Jackson Labs. Jackson Labs is a dedicated organization that focuses on finding a cure for each individual cancer patient. Because cancer is becoming increasingly common among people we know and love, including a sibling of an SEB member, SEB decided to support this charity.
On March 11, hundreds of students lined up outside Council Rock North for a fun night of dancing and fundraising. The evening began with a dance and continued with night swimming, games, fun competitions, and even a hypnotist show. At the end of the event the next morning, SEB was proud to announce that $26,600 was raised for Jackson Labs. Riley Gallagher, treasurer of SEB, states that “SEB was pleased with this year’s Rock-a-thon as it was both safe and enjoyable for our students. Rock-a-Thon was successful in helping a very worthy charity.”
SEB president Camille Smith stated that “the overnight portions were changed this year, so there were tons of things going on to appeal to more people. I really think it went well and have heard nothing but positive feedback, and I had a pleasure planning it with my co-chairs.”
Both Smith and Gallagher admitted that planning this event was a massive project that thankfully ended with success.
“We raised a lot of money through our new fundraising methods such as Dine for Dollars and monetary soliciting from local businesses,” Smith expressed. Dine for Dollars was a fundraiser that aided Rock-a-thon’s success in which students, teachers, and families were able to share a meal at Chick-Fil-A, Chipotle, Jules, and Applebee’s in order to support the worthy cause.
Gallagher mentioned, “SEB members all went soliciting on their own time and visited local businesses to see if they would be interested in supporting our cause.” Thanks to the cooperation and teamwork of SEB members and the support of the Council Rock community, local businesses such as The Caketeria, Smoothie King, Go Bananas, Philly Pretzel, Burritos, Verelli's Yardley Pizza, Canal Street Grille, Zebra Striped Whale, Starbucks, Uva Ristorante, Cramer's Bakery, Vince's Pizza, Micro Interventional Devices, Great Clips, Centeral Aluminun, Quality One Roofing, YBI Solutions, Vennel Institute, Rittenhouse Home, 360 Hypnosis, Sneddon's Luncheonette, Colonial Farms, Lee's Hoagie House, David J. Witchelle, and Acme were able to contribute to this worthy cause.
Rock-a-Thon does more than support cancer research and promote student activism. By having the local businesses involved with SEB’s fundraising efforts, the local community’s charitability is reflected.
Gallagher sincerely expresses that she “think[s] that Rock-a Thon is an accurate representation of the fact that the Council Rock and Bucks County community is committed to serving others.”
However, the Council Rock and Bucks County community’s dedication to helping others does not stop here. Next year, SEB wishes to improve the 10th annual Rock-a-Thon by getting more students involved and raising more money, as well as having more entertainment present at the event. Gallagher concludes thoughtfully, “Ultimately, we would like to raise even more money for our charity and continue to help foster a love for serving others in our students, even if it simply starts with a 12-hour dance-a-thon.”