The Apollo High School Beta club will host the school’s fourth annual eight-hour mini-marathon to support the University of Kentucky’s DanceBlue project from 3 to 11 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 15, in the AHS gymnasium. The school is located at 2280 Tamarack Road.
The event is a fundraiser with “no sitting, no sleeping” throughout the evening, so students will be actively participating in dancing and playing games as they dedicate their time to the kids and families who benefit from the DanceBlue clinic.
DanceBlue is not just an Apollo event, it has become a community effort. Students from five elementary schools, two middle schools, and three high schools are participating in Apollo’s efforts.
All of the money raised through the DanceBlue marathon is donated to the Golden Matrix Fund, which works to support cancer research at the Markey Cancer Center and social support at the DanceBlue KCH (Kentucky Children’s Hospital) Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic. Within 11 years, DanceBlue marathons across the state have raised more than $9.8 million.
The AHS event will feature a different “theme” each hour of the marathon. Event coordinator Melissa Jarboe, an English teacher at AHS said themes for this year’s event include “Carnival Hour” and “Saturday Morning Cartoons.”
“We have six different theme hours this year with at least five games per hour for students to participate in during that time,” Jarboe said. “As always, the entire group – participants, volunteers, adults and teachers – will dance an eight-minute choreographed line dance at the top of each hour to a medley of music, including everything from classic rock such as Journey to more modern day music with Kanye West. My 50-member student committee has been very busy designing and organizing the games and choreographing the dance! They are so excited to share the fun night and terrific cause with their school and community!”
Jarboe said students from Owensboro Catholic High School and Henderson County High School will participate in the AHS event, as well as students from the local Academy of Young Leaders, which includes students from all local high schools.
Participation in the event requires a commitment of time and energy, Jarboe said. “During the event, no participant can sit down; they must be active the duration of the marathon,” she said. “We are dancing for the kids of Kentucky Children’s Hospital who are fighting cancer. The dance at the top of each hour symbolizes our unity for the sake of the cause.”
Money is raised through donations and pledges. “Everyone who participates has to make a minimum donation to the cause, which adds to our total that we share at the end of the event,” Jarboe said. “Fundraising has been going on since last March, when we helped two local elementary schools host two-hour marathons after school. My committee has been collecting change at Apollo sporting events, including baseball, soccer, volleyball, football and basketball. We have held restaurant fundraiser nights, where our community has been so generous in helping us. We also have a donation sponsorship program available for our local businesses to get involved in our event and continue to welcome contributions and support.”
Jarboe said previous events have been successful and the planning committee expects this to be their best year ever. “We had more than 200 participants last year and are expecting the number to be larger this year,” Jarboe said. “In our previous three marathons, we have raised more than $41,000 for the UK Children’s Hospital. We are hoping for a great result this year for a year-long fundraiser that includes students from five elementary schools, two middle schools, and three high schools.”
In addition to themed games and activities, the evening will also include an “inspiration tent” where students can fill out cards or make goody bags to send to children at Owensboro Health Hospital and patients at the Mitchell Memorial Cancer Center in Owensboro. Local businesses have donated dinner and snacks for participants.
Apollo High School is the first high school in western Kentucky to host a mini-marathon in conjunction with the University of Kentucky. Apollo alumni, current UK students and members of the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority at Kentucky Wesleyan College are teaming up to help at Sunday night’s event.
“Apollo’s DanceBlue Club has been working all year to spread the information and mission of DanceBlue to students from Apollo, as well as College View and Burns middle schools, and Burns, Sorgho, Southern Oaks and Tamarack elementary schools,” Jarboe said. “DanceBlue has not only become an Apollo event, but also a community event.”
See last year’s results here.