This year’s Mini-THON fundraiser kicked off with its usual pep rally on Friday, Feb. 10.

The event itself, which will be held Feb. 24-25, promises to be a little more magical than usual — as the theme is Harry Potter.

Events at the all-night dance will include playing Quidditch and “find the Golden Snitch” every hour.

Student Council considered five ideas, including Lilo and Stitch, Dr. Suess and Toy Story, but the Hogwarts hero was the clear winner, Student Council President Ceclia Howald said.

“It got the most votes out of the other four,” she said

This year’s goal is to raise $45,000, student council representatives announced at the pep rally.

The highlight of the pep rally was student council members throwing pies in the faces of teachers who raised money the week before. Band Director Mr. Brian Langdon was the teacher who raised the most money. Math Teacher Mr. Josh Turner and Vice Principal Mr. Andrew Maoury tied for second.

The speaker at the rally was Chris Kaag, founder of the IAM Able Foundation, which has the goal of providing active lifestyles for individuals with disabilities.

Kaag, in a wheel chair, showed off the new hand cycle his foundation will give to young Four Diamonds cancer patient, Eden Gresh, thanks to a coin stall led by student council this fall.

Kaag told the crowd that during high school he was “a lazy fatty” who played video games and was not really motivated in sports or school.

At 17, he went into the Marine Corps, which taught him discipline and turned him into an active person, playing both rugby and football for Marines. He had dreams of becoming a drill sergeant, but they were cut short in 1997 when he was diagnosed with a rare genetic neuro-degenerative condition called Adrenomyeloneuropathy, spurred on by a duty-related concussion. The disease forced him to medically retire from the Marine Corps.

He emphasized to students the importance of not taking their health for granted.

“I think now about how I hated running,” he said. “Now, I would give anything to be able to run again.”

Student Council Advisor and history teacher Mr. Jeff Kusniez also spoke at the assembly. He explained how Kaag stepped in to speak at the last minute when the mother of Gresh had to back out she had a relapse and had to return to the hospital.

“Everything’s fine, they want you to know everything is fine…” Mr. Kusniez reassured everyone. He then went on to say how the family’s situation reminds us what Mini-THON is all about.

Mini-THON replicates the Penn State THON on a smaller scale. In the past year, 100 schools hosted events, raising more than $2 million for the Four Diamonds Fund, which assists children treated for cancer at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital and their families. The fund also supports research.

BASH students and staff raised more than $40,000 last year for the Four Diamonds Fund. . which brought the accumulating total over the past four years to a total of $148,686, making. BASH the highest earner in Berks County and one of the highest earners in the state.

This year’s Mini-THON committee chair is Senior Sarah McCafferty.

“Sarah’s doing a great job of managing with school. It’s almost like a job,” Howald said. “There’s a lot that goes into it.”

McCafferty’s job as Mini Thon Chair is to organize and run meetings, while ensuring all committees are on track and working together.

“I also cover tasks that don’t really fall into any committee and work with registration,” McCafferty said. “I have a lot of experience with Four Diamonds Fund, so I want to share what I’ve learned with others in student council.”

McCafferty and other student council members are putting in a lot of work after school to ensure the night is a success.

“To prep for the event we’re currently making a ton of Harry Potter themed decorations, finalizing activities, and gathering materials for them,” McCafferty said. “[We’re also] creating the line dance, a dance we do hourly to wake us up; soliciting donations from businesses; organizing chaperones, and getting students to register.”

Last year, McCafferty and other chairs visited Penn State Hershey Medical Center with Mr. Kusniez. They met with Four Diamonds representatives, who gave them a tour of the hospital. McCafferty said it was an incredible experience.

“Four Diamonds Fund is so special because not only does it completely eliminate the financial burden of pediatric cancer for families, but it does absolutely everything possible … with the emotional and psychological effects as well.”

Story courtesy of BASH Cub student newspaper

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