South Fayette School District News Article

SF Mini-THON Shatters School, National Records

After months of preparation, work, and fundraising, the South Fayette 2023 Mini-THON not only broke a school record, but it became the most successful Mini-THON event in the nation.

Modeled after the annual 46-hour dance marathon, THON, at Penn State University, Mini-THON empowers K-12 students to serve as leaders in the fight against childhood cancer. Students who volunteer as part of their school’s Mini-THON program fundraise throughout the year for Four Diamonds and cap off their efforts with a grand celebration. The big reveal took place after 12 hours of dancing, games, and celebrating at South Fayette High School on Friday, April 28 and Saturday, April 29.

Around 5:45 a.m. on Saturday, members of the two highest fundraising teams flipped the signs to unveil the 2023 total: $336,140.10. That total exceeds the 2022 total by nearly $80,000 and the initial 2023 goal of $275,000. It also set a national record. The 2023 South Fayette Mini-THON is now the most successful Mini-THON in the nearly 30-year history of the Four Diamonds organization. South Fayette broke the previous record set by Cumberland Valley High School in 2019 by $5,000. As a note, Cumberland Valley High School has approximately 1,700 more students than South Fayette High School.

Over eleven years, South Fayette High School’s Mini-THON has raised more than $1.4 million for Four Diamonds, an organization dedicated to the fight against pediatric cancer at Penn State Children’s Hospital. Four Diamonds covers the cost of treatment that insurance or other means do not cover. The organization also helps with other emergency expenses for the families of children battling cancer, as well as pediatric cancer research aimed at finding a cure and more gentle treatments.

What sets South Fayette apart from the other 200 schools that participate in Mini-THON, besides the hundreds of thousands of dollars students raise, is how it is embedded in the high school’s curriculum. This most ambitious and anticipated fundraising event of the year is the capstone of Brandon Flannery’s honors management and marketing applications course. In this second-semester, senior-level course, students rely on their critical understanding of event management, promotion, ticketing, corporate sponsorship, and fundraising to plan, manage, and market Mini-THON. From recruiting participants, developing sponsorship packages, soliciting donations, managing social media, to planning a 12-hour event, honors management and marketing applications students do it all.

This year, approximately 800 students, nearly three quarters of the high school student body, were registered to participate in Mini-THON.

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