Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Dancing TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Dancing TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Article excerpt

A year ago, a group of students at Mater Dei High School came together for a benefit to help Riley Hospital for Children. A Mater Dei graduate, Claire Scheller, had been treated at the hospital after her cancer diagnosis, and Claire's sister Theresa helped spearhead the effort to give something back. The Mater Dei Dance Marathon proved to be a smashing success. With the help of students, faculty, volunteers, donors and local businesses, the benefit ended up raising more than twice the $10,000 goal. So this year, the students who are organizing the dance marathon have set their sights even higher.

Olivia DeWeese is one of seven Mater Dei students on the dance marathon's executive committee and one of about 50 involved with the event planning. She and the others have set a goal of $15,000 this year, something she says can only be accomplished with the continued support of the West Side community.

"We are still a little short of that goal right now," said DeWeese. "We are depending on (tonight) to help raise that money. But we have been doing all kinds of fundraisers. We did a car wash, a bake sale and a Zumba class. We sell ice cream toppings at lunch every week. We have had a lot of people helping out with this."

The entire project is put together by Mater Dei students, with the help of student adviser Toni Wallace, an art teacher at Mater Dei. Wallace was recruited by the students after last year's adviser opted not to return. She organizes meetings and helps communicate with all of the student volunteers.

"We wanted to do this again so we formed the executive committee," said DeWeese. "We got a new adviser and she's done a lot for us. And Theresa (Scheller) is up at IU now, but she's stayed in contact with us and helped us all year."

The efforts of the Mater Dei students got the attention of hospital officials at Riley. They sent Indianapolis resident Katie Stam, Miss America 2009, to Mater Dei along with one of the child spokesmen for the hospital. "She gave us a surprise visit," said De- Weese. "We knew nothing about it. It was really neat."

Those who attend the dance marathon must raise at least $20 in pledges for Riley Hospital of Children, although many raise more. …

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