By Sammie Marks

Students at Iowa City West High School take every challenge very seriously.

For the students behind the first ever mini dance marathon, shattering previously held records pushed them to go above and beyond and do what faculty felt was impossible.

And with that challenge in mind, they raised $21, 292. 

West students modeled their mini after the University of Iowa’s Big Event with their morale captains, families that captured the hearts of the attendants, food for fueling, a DJ, morale group signs and even the accessories.

Morale captains challenged their peers at West High to raise fifty dollars in order to participate and with their hard work came results: over one hundred and fifty dancers came and showed their support for kiddos with cancer. 

In less than three months, 23 West High students and faculty members Paul Breitbach and Jen Secrist joined together to plan and execute their first mini.

Senior student leaders like Michaela Recker and Lauren Larson concentrated on asking friends and family for donations.

Although Larson plans on participating in the Big Event on February 1, raising money for the West High mini didn’t pose any obstacles since she saved up money of her own. 

For sophomore Brian Wall, a member of the Event committee as well as a West High alumna, the event reminded him how wonderful our families are.

“The family speakers were extremely personable, eloquent, and moving,” said Walls. “I wish there had been a mini dance marathon at West when we were there!”

Mini dance marathon chair Ali Houselog ’13 explained that while most mini dance marathons take place between November and January, the season technically goes all year round.

“The mini dance marathon program has really taken off this year,” said Houselog. “We have expanded existing minis and added many new schools this year.” 

Every year, the mini program has continued to grow and shatter records and this year is no exception.

This year, two schools have each respectively passed the ten thousand dollar mark and with West’s current success, they officially become the highest fundraising mini for UI Dance Marathon.

“The schools seem to have really come together as a community to give everything they have to support the University of Iowa Dance Marathon,” explained Houselog, when asked why the program continues to grow in the way it does.

With a full year of preparation ahead on the schedule for West High, it is inevitable that they will shatter their own record and see their event grow.


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