The 38th annual South High Marathon Dance got started with a bang,literally, and the pun was intended, according to art teacher Tom Myott, an adviser for the marathon, as the Lake George Drumline wowed the crowd at the opening ceremony.
South High students lined the floor of the gymnasium, all in matching purple shirts. The bleachers were packed, so full, in fact, overflow guests were sent to the old gym and large group instruction room, where a live feed of the events was shown.
Among those on the bleachers was seventh-grader Matthew Ogden. He was there simply to watch, though he contributed too, selling raffle tickets for the cause.
If middle-schoolers sell enough tickets, they can earn an hour of dance time Saturday, though Ogden didn’t plan on dancing.
“I just did it for the donation,” he said.
Lori Clark was there to watch her son, Caleb, a junior. The dance is a tradition for the Clark family, though Caleb’s older sister, Mikaela, was home sick.
She’s an alumnus, and as such, she can return and assist with the event.
Lori said in years past she stayed all night long, as the students took on 28 hours of dancing.
This year, however, she was returning home to watch the live-feed with Mikaela.
Alumni were recognizable in their tan and orange shirts.
Among them were Kurt Atkins and Zach Lennox.
Lennox recalled the excitement leading up to the dance when he was a student.
“There’d be people dancing in the halls,” he said of the school week before the dance.
That kind of excitement was enough to prompt the two to travel three hours from Clarkson University to return to their alma mater.
While the students were collaborating in choreographed moves and traditional line dances, there was more going on.
The old gym hosted several fundraising booths, hair cutting, live and basket auctions, face-painting, shirt sales, a 50/50 raffle and a photo booth.
A braiding station was set up by Tieka Harrington and Karrie Cook.
Both women have daughters who were former recipients of the dance.
Harrington’s daughter, Jillain, has juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Cook’s daughter, Alyssa, needed a kidney transplant one year after graduating from South High and participating as a dancer.
“We’ve seen both sides of this,” Cook said.
While Harrington owns Creative Styles in Glens Falls, Cook is a teacher at the school.
Vanessa Lebrun, a sixth-grader, was seated getting corn rows in her hair by Cook.
“She’s amazing at both,” Lebrun said when asked if Cook was better at teaching or braiding.
Down the hall, concessions were available, along with Stewart’s Shops ice cream.
Stewart’s participates each year, with employees volunteering time to dish out about 1,500 servings. All ice cream, cones, bowls and utensils are donated by the company.
“We’re really part of the community,” said Mary Lou Saxton, Stewart’s Shops print shop manager.
The Marathon Committee selected 44 beneficiaries of the money that will be raised through Saturday.
The students collected more than $583,000 during last year’s dance and are hoping to top that record this year.
Photo Credit : Steve Jacobs