Apollo High School Beta club will host its fifth annual eight-hour mini-marathon to support the University of Kentucky’s DanceBlue project. The event is scheduled from 3 to 11 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 14, in the AHS gymnasium. The school is located at 2280 Tamarack Road.
Guidelines for the fundraising event include “no sitting, no sleeping,” so throughout the evening, 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. 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 12 years, DanceBlue has raised more than $11.5 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 “Tourist Hour” and “Pirate Hour.” This year’s event will also feature an exciting scavenger hunt activity scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. – students will be scrambling through the hallways of Apollo High School as they follow clues to find all kinds of items!
“We have between six and 12 games planned each hour for students to participate in during that time,” Jarboe said. “Students are split up into smaller groups with activities throughout the night, but the entire group – participants, volunteers, adults and teachers – will dance an eight-minute choreographed line dance at the top of each hour that is designed to bring everyone together in unity. My 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 Burns Middle School, College View Middle School, and Audubon, Burns, Sorgho and Tamarack elementary schools will participate in the AHS event, as well as students from Owensboro Catholic High School. AHS alumni and University of Kentucky DanceBlue students will serve as volunteers at this year’s event.
Participation in the event requires a commitment of time and energy, Jarboe said. “During the event, no participant can sit down, not even to eat; 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. Participants are honoring those who can’t leave the hospital to do ‘normal’ kid-type activities, so for eight hours, participants cannot sit down but must be active and on their feet for the duration of the dance marathon. 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.”
Apollo High School is the first high school in western Kentucky to host a mini-marathon in conjunction with the University of Kentucky.
Jarboe said previous events have been successful and the planning committee expects this to be their best year ever. “We had more than 225 participants last year and are expecting the number to be larger this year,” Jarboe said. “In our previous four marathons, we have raised more than $91,000 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 make Valentine cards and friendship bracelets to be distributed to children through local pediatrician offices.
“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 Audubon, Burns, Sorgho and Tamarack elementary schools,” Jarboe said. “DanceBlue has not only become an Apollo event, but also a community event.” Parents and members of the community are invited to attend; there will be seating available in the gymnasium where they can watch the students’ activities.
For more information, visit danceblue.org.
Schedule of activities for the evening:
3 p.m. – Kick-off and learn line dance that will be performed throughout the night
4 p.m. – Theme Hour #1 with games and activities sponsored by Independence Bank
5 p.m. – Theme Hour #2 with more games and activities
6 p.m. – Theme Hour #3 with games and dinner sponsored by Papa John’s, Olive Garden, Subway, Buffalo Wild Wings, Moonlite and more
7 p.m. – Theme Hour #4 with games and schoolwide scavenger hunt
8 p.m. – Theme Hour #5 with special guest DJ from Lexington (tentative)
9 p.m. – Theme Hour #6 with games and snacks sponsored by Ritzy’s
10 p.m. – Celebration of Life Hour honoring children and families of the DanceBlue Kentucky Children’s Hematology/Oncology Clinic. Two students who have received treatment at this clinic will share their stories with those in attendance; a speaker from the UK DanceBlue Committee will speak; and the AHS Theatre group will perform a special skit