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$100,000 Surprise

NA's annual dance marathon far exceeds expectations

TigerThon+2019+collected+over+00%2C000+in+the+fight+against+pediatric+cancer.++The+total+collection+more+than+doubled+their+already+ambitious+goal.
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$100,000 Surprise

TigerThon 2019 collected over 00,000 in the fight against pediatric cancer.  The total collection more than doubled their already ambitious goal.

TigerThon 2019 collected over 00,000 in the fight against pediatric cancer. The total collection more than doubled their already ambitious goal.

photo by Audra Sapp

TigerThon 2019 collected over 00,000 in the fight against pediatric cancer. The total collection more than doubled their already ambitious goal.

photo by Audra Sapp

photo by Audra Sapp

TigerThon 2019 collected over 00,000 in the fight against pediatric cancer. The total collection more than doubled their already ambitious goal.

By Amanda Lu, North Allegheny Senior High School

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On Saturday, March 30th, hundreds of North Allegheny students gathered in the NASH gym and cafeteria to celebrate TigerThon, an annual dance marathon supporting UPMC’s Children’s Hospital and Pennies from Heaven.

Typically, TigerThon raises around $30,000 a year. This year, the event raised over $100,000 — double their initial goal of $50,000 and triple the typical amount — thanks to the indelible efforts of captains and members of the individual committees, adviser Sharon Volpe, and of course, the NA students who contributed by buying chocolates, participating in TurkeyBall, attending the dance marathon, and donating money.

Over the past few months, I kept the total a surprise from everybody, and I kept encouraging them to work hard to hit $50,000.”

— Kristen Chomos, TigerThon Head

Kristen Chomos, head captain of TigerThon, gave every ounce of herself to this event.

“I have dedicated the majority of the free time that I’ve had since August to TigerThon,” said Chomos. “Over the past few months, I would say that I collectively spent several hours a day on TigerThon. I have a busy schedule with playing sports in all three seasons, so I’ve had to maximize every minute of the time that I had before, during, and after school.”

To raise over a whopping $100,000, each member of TigerThon was recommended to set a personal goal of earning $250.

“I hoped I would even go beyond [the goal of earning $250], which I did,” said Austen Skopov, a member of the fundraising committee.

But, like everything else in life, success comes with time and hard work.

“All the preparations for Thon started into the summer and were put into action pretty early in the year,” said Skopov. “We collected donations at the football games, went caroling, and I went soliciting downtown with [my friends] to get businesses involved.”

Besides fundraising, many other committees put in equal time and effort.

“Being a captain meant lots of preparation, fundraising, and just behind the scenes planning,” said Ritika Nagpal, co-captain of the volunteering committee. “No one really realizes how much work it is. But I don’t think I did any more work than any other team member.”

Mary Evankovich, a member of the Host Family Relations Team, attested to her group’s strenuous efforts.

“[There was] a lot of coordination with the family — I’ve been texting Andi [Nora’s mother] about pretty much everything,” Evankovich said. “There’s a ton of work that goes into [TigerThon].”

But all the hours lost to coordinating TigerThon were ultimately gained back in a sense of accomplishment, compassion, and community.

“I learned what it meant to be apart of something that was far bigger than myself and our school combined,” said Samantha Marien, head of the Publicity Committee. “The feeling I had after the reveal of $100,925.81 is an indescribable feeling that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to describe to anyone else or probably ever experience again. It was by far the best moment from my high school career.”

Chomos revealed that, despite their hard efforts, committee members nonetheless were shocked to learn how much they had truly raised.

“Over the past few months, I kept the total a surprise from everybody, and I kept encouraging them to work hard to hit $50,000,” said Chomos. “The captains were in complete shock when we revealed the total, and their reactions were priceless. That was certainly a moment I will always cherish.  It reinforced why I am proud to be a Tiger.”

This story was originally published on The Uproar on April 4, 2019.

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