• Dec. 5, 2016
    High school kicks-off Mini-THON effort
    Super Mentors Upper St. Clair High School kicked off its five-month campaign to raise $10,000 to help fight and conquer childhood cancer. The effort culminates with a Mini-THON celebration April 21-22, 2017, where proceeds will be presented to Four Diamonds, an organization that assists children who are battling cancer and their families at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital.

    The organizers of the USC Mini-THON and related events are seniors and Super Mentors Stephen Cuddy, Mac Dominick, Megan Kramer, Eric Lehman and Allie Ryave. Super Mentors help lead a team of junior and senior mentors that assist freshmen with the transition from middle school to high school. Thomas Marquis, school counselor; Mike Funfar, mathematics teacher; and Amanda Haas, mathematics teacher, serve as faculty advisors.

    “Our Super Mentors approached us last spring after they were selected as Supers about hosting the Mini-THON as school wide event. They wanted to see the school come together and also improve school spirit,” Mr. Funfar said. “While the high school is very successful and has a culture of achievement, the Super Mentors felt as though the spirit needed improvement. Being an Upper St. Clair Panther should mean something more than just performing well in academics, arts, and athletics.”

    High school students attended an assembly on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016, to learn more about the initiative, the Four Diamonds organization and how Upper St. Clair can make a difference. The assembly morphed into a Mini-THON pep rally complete with water bottle flipping contests as well as students and staff members willingly being pied in the face in the name of school spirit – including Principal and good sport Dr. Lou Angelo.

    “I am extremely proud of our students for their emerging leadership,” Dr. Angelo said. “They have seen an opportunity to provide a service to those in need while pulling our community together.”

    Following the assembly, 37 teams of students and staff competed in the first of many fundraisers – a volleyball tournament. The event, led by science teacher Russ Hoberg, was hosted by the girls’ and boys’ volleyball teams and the physical education department. The winning team was comprised of science teachers Jack Zebo, Lynn Kistler and Mr. Hoburg as well as Tom Marquis, school counselor. The volleyball tournament raised approximately $2,000.

    “The best part of the tournament was seeing staff and students interacting together and enjoying friendly competition,” Mrs. Haas said. “The tournament exceeded our expectations in terms of teams signing up, the number of staff members that participated, and funds raised. We look forward to having the event next year and improving on this year's successes.”

    The Super Mentors are hoping to offer different fundraisers each month. There are two events planned for the month of December: a FTK (for the kids) bracelet sale and a snowman contest.

    The snowman contest is sponsored by SHOP@USC. Students will use a variety of crafting materials to create snowmen, which will be displayed during lunch. High school students and staff will be asked to vote for their favorite by making a donation in the respective snowman’s container. The snowman with the highest donation total will be the winner.

    SHOP@USC (Showing How Opportunity Pays @ Upper St. Clair) is a fully-inclusive student-run business housed within Upper St. Clair High School’s Innovation Hub. Students in the Life Skills program and their regular education partners design and manufacture USC spirit-wear products while learning how to develop a business plan that includes all aspects such as pricing, marketing, sales and inventory of products.

    Mini-THONs are modeled after Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, or THON, the world’s largest student-run charity. The money is used to drive the discovery of new and improved treatments for childhood cancer, through funding more than 70 pediatric cancer research team members at Penn State College of Medicine; and to ensure that every child is treated for cancer at Penn State Children’s Hospital without any out-of-pocket costs for their families.

    “Knowing that we have a positive impact and can help families that need our help is truly rewarding. All donations that we raise will go toward kids, just like us, to aid them in their fight against cancer,” Super Mentor Eric Lehman said. “We aren't looking for awards or accomplishments for us, we want to see the smiles on the kids’ faces that we help.”

    During the 2015-2016 school year, more than 70,000 elementary, middle and high school student volunteers in 235 schools across five states teamed up to raise $5,526,281.63 to fight childhood cancer through Four Diamonds Mini-THONs.

    “We need the community and students to be involved at all times. This event isn't a one-day or week-long event,” Super Mentor Allie Ryave said. “Our Mini-THON is a never-ending fundraiser against childhood cancer. The community and students can come to our fundraisers, donate, sign up for our Donor Drive, and spread the word.”

    For more information about the USC Mini-THON, including how you can support this effort, please contact Tom Marquis, school counselor, at 412-833-1600 ext. 2406 or via email at tmarquis@uscsd.k12.pa.us.