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Kittanning students plan dance benefit for teacher's son

| Friday, March 28, 2014, 1:01 a.m.

Kittanning High School students plan to dance the night away on Friday to help a popular teacher's family battle with leukemia.

About 150 students will dance for 10 hours straight at the fifth-annual Kittanning High School Dance-a-Thon sponsored by student council. It aims to raise $10,000 to help the family of health teacher Cindy Lindahl, whose 3-year-old son, James, has leukemia.

During the first four years of the Dance-a-Thon, students raised $15,000 for charities, said student council President Eric Shiring.

“It's our biggest and most challenging event of the year, since we have to entertain people for 10 hours,” Shiring said. “This year, more people want to get involved because we're helping someone in our community and they can see the direct benefit of their work.”

Lindahl has been on leave from the school for several months.

Students plan to break into several color-coded teams to compete against each other in games and events during the Dance-a-Thon and to see which group can raise the most money, said Dance-a-Thon co-chair Summer Young.

Whichever team raises the most money secures a year of fame, with their picture on a plaque in the school's lobby.

Dance-a-Thon organizers this year introduced the “100 for $100” pledge, in hopes of having at least 100 students bring in $100 each.

“If we can get at least 100 people to reach a personal $100 goal, we'll easily reach our bigger goal for the year,” Shiring said. “We have about 70 people who have already met their $100 goal, so we're confident we'll get there this year.”

One of the biggest challenges organizers must combat is keeping dancers awake for the entire marathon, which begins at 9 p.m. and ends at 7 a.m. Saturday, said Roxanne Crissman, a Dance-a-Thon co-chair. In the past, students would fall asleep halfway through the event.

They hope to keep everyone awake by serving food and holding several themed blocks of music, having games, other attractions and a visit from a hypnotist.

“They're not going to want to fall asleep this year,” Crissman said. “Something is constantly going to be going on.”

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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