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    Posted March 8, 2014 by

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    Let me tell you about the South Glens Falls Bulldogs, and why we are so great


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     blw7095 is an alumni of South Glens Falls High School, which is located in the small town of South Glens Falls, New York. Now a resident of North Carolina, she wanted to do just more than donate to the dance marathon, which raises money every year for people in its town. 'The marathon dance is a way of life in South Glens Fall. As a dancer, I danced because my school gave me the opportunity to spend an amazing weekend with my friends and raise money for charity,' she said. 'Now I stay involved because I am developing a deeper and deeper appreciation for just what an amazing event this is.'
    - Jareen, CNN iReport producer

    You may wonder what would make high school students gather in their school gymnasium and dance for 28 hours straight. If you are from South Glens Falls like me you know exactly why we fight the night and rock the clock. This small town in upstate New York may seem ordinary, but we are members of a community unlike any other. The Bulldogs have gathered every March since 1978 to dance and raise money for local people and charities. The students dance in one gym while alumni and volunteers entertain members of the community in other parts of the school with raffles, silent auctions, haircuts, and countless other ways to make donations to the dance. Everyone in the community gives, like my grandmother who knits dozens of blankets to put in prize bags given to the students who raise the most money. We all come together to become much more than ourselves. We come together to become the South High Marathon Dance.

    In the past 37 years, SHMD has grown from a small dance with 50 members to now more than 80% of the school population participating. Each year the dance becomes even bigger and so do the totals. When I graduated from South Glens Falls Senior High School in 2008 we raised $245,141. Last year the students raised an astonishing $489,716. Right now I am in North Carolina watching my sister, Rachel Wentworth, dance on the SHMD live feed as a senior in her fourth SHMD. This year, the students are trying to raise more than half a million dollars!


    The South High Marathon Dance is our weekend to come together and change lives. We dance to give back to the community that gives so much to us. We dance for current recipients as well as those past. We dance for people like Racheal O’Leary, a friend I graduated with who became a recipient of the dance when she was diagnosed with Leukemia at 20 years old. I still remember going back to the dance as an alumni and hugging Racheal at her last SHMD. As a dancer she gave to the dance, and as a recipient the dance gave back to her. People like Racheal embody the spirit of the dance and we feel their spirit with us in that gym even if they lose the battles we help them fight.

    If you are still wondering what would get high school students to spend hours at their school on a weekend, to get them up on their feet and dancing, you can check out the website, shmd.org, and watch the live feed like I am. The Finale starts at 7:30pm (March 8th) and you will not want to miss it. But to truly understand the dance you have to check it out in person. If you are there to see the recipient names hanging in the hallways and the decorations in the gym, you will feel the beat of the music and the love that is SHMD. If you are lucky enough to be a member of this amazing community like I am, you know that we are the bulldogs, and the bulldogs are great!


    UPDATE: The 2014 South High Marathon Dance ended at 10:30pm on March 8th. The students raised $583,015.44 in 28 hours.


    Check out the video created by our media crew: http://youtu.be/lbx-VDubYKc

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