BGHS students play musical cares
Buffalo Grove 11/9/12 Dancing right to left, 17-year-old Samantha Neuman of Arlington Heights, 17-year-old Josey Collums of Arlington Heights and 17-year-old Samantha Oakes of Arlington Heights participate in the Buffalo Grove High School Student Council's Third Annual Dance Marathon. | Michelle LaVigne ~ Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 16, 2012 6:01AM
BUFFALO GROVE — The event featured musical chairs, a disc jockey who is a recent graduate, a silly game with T-shirts and a fund-raiser.
It is the Dance Marathon at Buffalo Grove High School, and it is neither an open dance floor nor a competition to see who can dance the longest.
“The name’s a little bit misleading,” said Rich Schram, a BGHS physics teacher and student council advisor.
The school’s third annual Dance Marathon, held Friday night, did involve competitions in three dance styles that the participants had probably not used since grade school.
The effort raised money for Salute, Inc., a Palatine-based nonprofit organization that fills the needs of military veterans and their families when other government and volunteer agencies’ mandates end. The total amount raised was not counted by the Countryside’s press time, Schram said, but the event has raised nearly $10,000 in its first two years combined.
“The number of people asking for help has just exploded,” said Will Beiersdorf, a former military police officer in the Navy, who founded Salute in 2003 with his wife, Mary Beth.
Of all the fund-raisers that groups around the northwest suburbs host for Salute, Beiersdorf said he is especially grateful for the efforts of teens. When young adults learn more about the nature of the military and the needs of its veterans, he said, the benefits can be reaped for years to come.
The “marathon” actually lasted three hours, and featured about 150 students divided into eight teams. They competed in the limbo, the freeze-dance and musical chairs. A panel of teachers judged the teams’ themes and dancing in the three competitions.
Schram noted that, particularly in musical chairs, where high-school-sized bodies collide with the exuberance of a game designed for children, the judging panel also was tasked with enforcing some order.
“We have adult supervision, to make sure it doesn’t get ridiculously competitive, and remind that it’s just a game,” he said.
Disc jockey Mike Pac, who graduated from BGHS in June, provided the music last year and returned for 2012. The school’s competitive, multi-style dance group Orchesis was scheduled to put on its own show during a break in the marathon action.
The fund-raiser was the idea of Katie Donnewald, a 2011 graduate who as president of the Student Council wanted to organize an event to benefit veterans. Participation in the competition has been 80 percent female so far, Schram reported, and each team builds its identity by decorating identical, blank white T-shirts in whichever way they choose.
He said that Donnewald’s decision to support Salute has proven to be a wise one.
“They’re a great organization,” said Schram, adding that the partnership should continue in future marathons. “This all just came together really nicely.”