For six hours every year, the CHCCS district holds a mini-marathon supported by Carolina For The Kids. This year, the marathon will be on February 17 at East Chapel Hill High School.

The mission of these dance marathons is to “unite the university, community and state in fostering emotional and financial support that improves the quality of life for the patients and families of N.C. Children’s Hospital.”

The first dance marathon at UNC took place in February 1999, with around 75 participants who raised $40,000 for the North Carolina Children’s Hospital. It has since raised $3.3 million for the hospital.

Connie Mendoza and Claire Murashima, students from East Chapel Hill High School, presented the idea of a mini-marathon to student government three years ago. Mendoza participated in dance marathons at her old school and was interested in bringing the idea to the CHCCS district.

Three years later, the connection between the district and Carolina For The Kids still stands strong.

The third dance marathon includes some new additions to the six-hour night. It will include a moment called “Pause for the Cause” where children from UNC Children’s Hospital talk to students for a few minutes.

“It’s just a way to keep people encouraged and stay on message because the whole point of the night is to show solidarity with those kids at the hospital,” said Eleanor Murray, current East Chapel Hill High School President.

Another addition includes applications for morale captains: students elected to keep others spirits up throughout the night. In previous years, morale captains were chosen by SGA. This year, 43 students applied to be morale captains of whom 16 received spots.

To raise money for the night, SGA contacts local businesses for any donations such as food or raffle prizes. This year, Freddy’s is donating a custard bar for free because 36 years ago, the current owner met his wife at a dance marathon. It’s moments like these that unite the Chapel Hill/Carrboro community and keep the message of Carolina For The Kids going strong.

Dance Marathon will be on February 17 at East Chapel Hill High School. Doors open at 5:00. Tickets are currently 35 dollars and can be purchased at your school.

Photo courtesy Vincent Chen

About Mireille Leone

Mireille, Chief Photographer, enjoys watching The Office every day of her life and sassing her friends.