Students to stay up all night to fight pediatric cancer next year

Students who have wanted to stay up all night at school will get their chance next year, as Baldwin will host its first all-night fundraiser for pediatric cancer research and treatment.

Baldwin will be joining hundreds of other high schools across the country that hold an event called Mini-Thon. The concept is based on Penn State’s Thon, which has raised millions of dollars to fight for children with cancer.

The event will be open to all students. The tentative plan is to run the event from 6 p.m. on a Friday through 6 a.m. the next day, at some point in the second semester next year.

Mini-Thons are often based in school gyms and have a variety of activities for students throughout the night, from line dances and lip sync competitions through volleyball tournaments and cornhole games.

Assistant Principal Rachel Sprouse participated in a Mini-Thon when she was assistant principal at Annville-Cleona, a school in central Pennsylvania. That high school was one of the first three in the state to do a Mini-Thon and this year will be its 20th anniversary of participating.

At Annville-Cleona, the Mini-Thon would include volleyball tournaments, a talent show, dancing, and lots of food, among other things, Sprouse said.

Sprouse is a Penn State alum, which puts her even closer to this event.

“It is exciting to be a part of this movement in Western Pa.,” she said.

Sprouse said she also has a personal connection to the issue because her husband’s brother had pediatric cancer, so it has affected her whole family.

Spanish teacher Becca Michalski said the goal at Baldwin is to recruit students interested in helping organize and run the event.

“We want this to be an annual event,” said Michalski. “We want leaders to get other students on board.”

Special education teacher Cassie Bartus said the Mini-Thon could help increase school spirit.

“Thon is a good way to promote community and have different students get involved and working together,” Bartus said.

Other staff members on the planning committee are Caroline Babik, Jason Dolak, Tina Gaser, Doug Graff, Keith Harrison, and Leah Younkins.

With the addition of the Mini-Thon, the Odyssey All-Nighter for Honors English 9 students will be phased out, Harrison said.