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Students raise more than $30K for charity in one-night event

| Monday, April 11, 2016, 1:54 p.m.
Students Tyler Steedle and Matt Bagley took part in the six-hour Hampton High School mini-THON on Friday, April 1, 2016. The event raised almost $31,000.
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Students Tyler Steedle and Matt Bagley took part in the six-hour Hampton High School mini-THON on Friday, April 1, 2016. The event raised almost $31,000.
Hampton High School students raised nearly $31,000 at a mini-THON on April 1, 2016, for  Four Diamonds, a nonprofit that helps children treated at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital.
Hampton High School students raised nearly $31,000 at a mini-THON on April 1, 2016, for Four Diamonds, a nonprofit that helps children treated at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital.
Volleyball was part of the activities at the mini-THON on April 1, 2016, at Hampton High School.
Submitted
Volleyball was part of the activities at the mini-THON on April 1, 2016, at Hampton High School.
Hampton HIgh School students raised nearly $31,000, and took part in a variety of activities at a mini-THON on April 1., 2016.
Hampton HIgh School students raised nearly $31,000, and took part in a variety of activities at a mini-THON on April 1., 2016.
Luke Lacher and Elise Orban were involved in the event at Hampton.
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Luke Lacher and Elise Orban were involved in the event at Hampton.

Hampton High School senior Luke Lacher never worked so hard until he became a pupil of philanthropy.

“This is by far, the most advanced and hardest thing that I've ever done as a student leader,” Lacher said after leading his schoolmates to recently raise $30,859 for charity.

Set to receive the money is Four Diamonds, a Dauphin County-based nonprofit that serves patients at the Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital.

Four Diamonds also benefits from Penn State University's annual THON dance marathon.

“We are still counting cash and counting checks,” said Lacher, 18, head organizer of the unrelated, second annual Mini-THON staged April 1 at Hampton High School.

“I had a team of people that I worked with who were all incredible, and Hampton's student body came out and behaved like I've never seen them before,” said Lacher, president of the school's student council.

In lieu of a marathon dance, Hampton High School's student council opted to sponsor a one-night, fundraising volleyball and dodgeball tournament.

“We didn't think we could encourage or motivate students to stay on their feet for six hours,” Lacher said about the idea of hosting a six-hour dance.

Nearly 600 students — more than half of the school's student body — played on 54 co-ed teams during the Mini-THON, which raised more than twice the $15,000 in donations that organizers set as their fundraising goal. Admission — $15 per person — included a T-shirt and pasta dinner.

“The way we really got people to start donating is we promised that the team that raised the most money would all get tickets to go to the Beyonce concert this summer,” Lacher said.

The largest chunk of donations was received from Hampton Mini-THON supporters who used credit cards to contribute online to Four Diamonds on behalf of Hampton High School, he said.

Since 1993, similar school-sponsored Mini-THONs have raised more than $17 million for Four Diamonds, said Kristen Masengarb, associate director of Four Diamonds. “To us, it's kids helping kids,” she said.

Activities at a Mini-THON vary and can include hours of dancing, sports, art and crafts or skills competition, such as a lip-syncing contest.

“A Mini-THON is a multi-hour, interactive, fun-filled event to raise money and awareness of childhood cancer,” Masengarb said.

“We have schools that offer massages and manicures and facials,” she said. “We have some schools that raise more than $200,000. We have some schools that raise $1,000.”

Hampton High School is among 235 U.S. schools holding Mini-THONS this year to benefit Four Diamonds, Masengarb said. But organizers of Mini-THONs also reap rewards.

“A Mini-THON is a kind of leadership development program,” Masengarb said. “It's teaching kids how to volunteer and how to be philanthropic through a project-based, learning activity.”

Any school — elementary, middle, high school or college — can organize a Mini-THON to benefit Four Diamonds.

In 1972, Charles and Irma Millard founded Four Diamonds to honor their late son Christopher, who was diagnosed with cancer at age 11.

“Shortly before he lost his three-year battle with cancer, he wrote a story about a great knight who sought out the four diamonds of courage, wisdom, honesty and strength in order to be released from the grips of an evil sorceress,” according to an online history of the Four Diamonds organization. “These diamonds symbolized the attributes that Chris believed were necessary to overcome cancer.”

Deborah Deasy is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-772-6369 or ddeasy@tribweb.com.

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