B-UMS students show off their moves at danceathon

TENNERTON — Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School and the MountaineerTHON pulled off something that had never been tried before in West Virginia, taking the dance marathon fundraiser to a public school.

The result? A lot of high-energy dancing happening in the B-UMS gymnasium Friday with the final result of raising nearly $3,500 for WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital.

“Today was the first mini dance marathon to happen in the state of West Virginia,” Lauren Clark, assistant director of high school and middle school programming, said. “We are super excited about it. Dance marathon is a nationwide movement that all the money goes to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

“Today, all the money goes directly to WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital,” she said. “Charles [Hayes, a local teacher] had gotten involved with us after he went viral with the megatron dancing. His passion led us down here. We were looking to start high school programs this year and we didn’t expect to get a middle school so involved and so excited.”

As soon as students returned from school after the nine-day work stoppage, they were given fundraising materials for the Buccaneerthon.

The top two fundraising classes got to come out for a VIP experience a half hour before the event and the rest of the students were able to come, participate in some dances and various contests.

“We were hoping to get some of the athletic teams down here, but with scheduling it was a little hard,” she said.

“The kids made this an amazing first mini Dance Marathon. This is my first year doing this kind of work with MountaineerTHON so I just want to give a big thanks to the kids, to the school for letting us have this event and to Charles for inspiring it.”

The Buccaneerthon was put together by faculty and staff and nine students from the middle school.

Oliver King, an eighth-grade committee member, said, “We helped set up today, planned for today and made the checks that were shown. It’s good to be a part of something that we are able to make good in the world.”

Kyanna Depoy, seventh grade committee member, said, “We pretty much helped make sure that everything was organized, especially when it came to making sure the big reveal was the most enjoyable part.”

The event included a check presentation from the B-U Archery Team of $1,000. The total at the end of the day Friday was $3,468.

“I was really excited about it because I have always wanted to do something to help a hospital,” Kyanna said. “I think they should choose new people every year to be on the committee and give them a chance to help out their community.”

It was Hayes who gained followers on Twitter after his dancing at WVU football games started going viral. He became involved with the MountaineerTHON and wanted to bring that same concept to B-UMS.

On Friday, Hayes got to do plenty of dancing but also reflect on the good they were able to do.

“We are dancing for those kids who can’t do what these kids can,” he said. “The kids responded the best way that I thought they could. The teachers were excited about it and kept the kids engaged. I had to keep my energy high because the kids love it when I am up with my energy. I couldn’t have done it without the MountaineeerTHON staff. They were on their game as well today. This is the first time it has ever happened outside of Morgantown, so for it being the first time in a school system, I guess it was a good turnout.

“Next year, my goal is to have it at the middle school and the high school. I want to do it early enough in the year where we can get some sports teams to come down and participate. We want to make sure the kids have something they can hold on to when they get older.”

Principal Renee Warner said, “It was stressful but it was wonderful. We had an amazing time getting ready for it. It’s such a great opportunity for our kids to learn about children who don’t have the health that our kids have. They did an amazing job fundraising for WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital.

“When they said, they would like to come back, ‘I said, yes, we can do that.’ Anytime, that we can train our kids in how to care for others, it’s a good day.”

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