A recent SALSATHON, a fundraiser uniting Salesianum, Padua and Ursuline.

SALSTHON sets $175K goal for Ronald McDonald House

Jarek RutzEducation, Headlines

A recent SALSATHON, a fundraiser uniting Salesianum, Padua and Ursuline.

A recent SALSATHON, a dance marathon fundraiser uniting students at Salesianum, Padua and Ursuline.

Students at  Salesianum, Ursuline and Padua will dance their hearts out from dusk to dawn in March as they attempt to raise $175,000 for children in need. 

SALSTHON is an annual event inspired by Penn State University’s THON, which has become so popular that many high schools in the country have some version of the all-night dance marathon. 

The student councils from each Wilmington school organize the event, which lasts from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. This year’s SALSTHON will be on March 18-19 in the Salesianum gym.

On top of the eight hours of dancing, students will have the opportunity to sink their teachers in a dunk tank, hop around in bouncy houses and play dodgeball.

“Having other things to do just makes it easier to stay up all night and have friends to hang out with so it doesn’t get tiring and boring,” said senior Jack Gormley, the student body president at Salesianum.

Since SALSTHON’s inception 10 years ago, the schools have raised more than $1.4 million for local charities, including the Delaware Center for Homeless Veterans, Child Inc., B+ Foundation, Sean’s House, St. Patrick’s Center, Limen House, Nemours Children’s Hospital and the Summer Collab.

This year, their fundraising efforts will go to the Ronald McDonald House of Delaware, which helps families whose seriously ill children are getting care at Nemours nearby.

“We go through the process of interviewing different nonprofits to see which ones we think can use this money the best and also use it in a way that represents our three schools and our love for helping the community,” Gormley said.

Each participant must raise at least $250 to get a ticket to the event, but students often raise more. 

About 1,000 students across the three schools participate in SALSTHON each year, according to Alison Hildenbrand, a college counselor at Salesianum who helps organize the event. 

For the next two months, students will raise funds through various outlets like direct solicitations, sponsoring “dress down” days, social events and athletic tournaments.

Last year’s event raised $283,000 for the B+ Foundation

The money raised this year will help the Ronald McDonald House provide meals to nearly 2,000 families that the foundation serves each year. It will also help replace old furniture at the house. 

A SALSATHON highlight is the announcement of how much is raised.

A SALSATHON highlight is the announcement of how much is raised.

Big numbers for SALSTHON

Ursuline senior Ella Koechert, who is the student body president, said the most exciting part of the event is when the final fundraising number is revealed.

“It’s always a great buildup to the end of the night when we flip the signs to the total [amount] of money that we’ve raised,” she said. “That’s what everyone’s looking forward to, so it’s our job and our entertainment committee’s job to keep everyone active and moving around so they’re ready for the big finale.”

The two class presidents agreed that SALSTHON highlights the values of their respective schools and strengthens the brotherhood and sisterhood in their quest to raise as much as possible. 

“Just taking one step forward and helping out as much as you can, even if it might make a small impact, is still making an impact,” Koechert said. “SALSTHON has gotten really big in our community, and we’ve been able to give so much so it’s great to see the impact we can make.”

More information, including ways to donate or help fundraise, is on SALSTHON.org.

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