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Dancing for IWK - Students bring school and community together with AWEC Dance Marathon

Grace Law, left, and Mikayla Chute, right, were helping Gemma Tompkins, centre, sell tickets to the second annual AWEC Dance Marathon that’s set for May 11 at the school. The Grade 9 students said sales were going well. Gemma, in Grade 12, is president of the students council that is organizing the event.
Grace Law, left, and Mikayla Chute, right, were helping Gemma Tompkins, centre, sell tickets to the second annual AWEC Dance Marathon that’s set for May 11 at the school. The Grade 9 students said sales were going well. Gemma, in Grade 12, is president of the students council that is organizing the event. - Lawrence Powell

Day-long event set for May 11

ANNAPOLIS ROYAL, NS - When Annapolis West Education Centre holds a fundraiser, you might want to dust off your dancing shoes.

The popular AWEC Dance Marathon that raised more than $7,000 for the IWK last year is back and better than ever as it strives to bring school and community together and help sick children from across the Maritimes.

“The AWEC Dance Marathon, we created it to bring the community together with the school,” said student council president Gemma Tompkins. “It was a way for the students to be able to do something that would impact the community locally and on a greater theme help the IWK -- the only children’s hospital in the Maritimes.”

Last year it really brought a lot of spirit and morale and really brought the school together so they really wanted to do it this year as well, she said.

Last year they made a pitch to an organization that gives donations to startups and worthy causes and walked away with enough cash to get the dance marathon off the ground.

“We reached out to Awesome Annapolis and we actually won our idea, so we got $1,000 from them that allowed us to really make our dance marathon a lot greater,” Gemma said.

They also reached out to community members and a lot of them actually ended up attending the marathon – including somebody from the local daycare centre who ended up doing Zumba at the event.

“So we had a lot of little kids running around and playing Zumba too,” she said.

Children’s Miracle Network

The dance marathon is run through the Children’s Miracle Network,” Gemma said. They set up a donor drive account anyone that wants to donate from anywhere can send money. “The money we raised then went to the IWK through the Children’s Miracle Network. So I was able to go to the IWK and present it myself during their telethon in June.”

The AWEC Dance Marathon is run mainly by the school’s student council executive.

“We’ve also reached out to Digby’s high school and Bridgetown’s school,” Gemma said. “Digby is sending their student council as well. So we’re making it a lot bigger of an event this year.”

Gemma said everything is shaping up for another great marathon.

“We’re doing an opening ceremony this year and then lot’s of dancing,” she said. “We have a DJ coming in from up the Valley. There’s going to be Bouncy Kingdoms outside and there’ll be some food going on. We’ll have Zumba as well. And Dan Froese is coming in to take photos and do a photo booth. And we also have face painting going on as well.”

Lots of Spirit

Gemma said that last year there was a lot of spirit and energy in the building.

“People were so excited and it was something, an event people were looking forward to,” she said. “And as soon as it was over people were like ‘you have to be doing this next year. Tell me you’re doing it next year.’ We said ‘Oh yeah, of course.’”

Like last year they will have T-shirts, and while there may me no real theme other than dancing, a lot of people wear red and yellow, the colours of the Children’s Miracle Network.

The AWEC Dance marathon is set for May 11 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. – mostly in the gym and the public is invited.

“We have a table set up if they want to donate or they can come or just see what’s going,” she said. And last year they like it. “It was one of those things that people were like ‘Wow! We can’t believe students put this on.’ It was completely student run and it was super successful. People were impressed with how smoothly it went.”

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