By SHERIDAN ROY
Plantsville Elementary School students really know how to get a “move” on. At the 9th annual “Foxathon” dance marathon, nearly 70 fifth graders ages 10 and 11 danced for over an hour straight in the auditorium after school on Friday, Feb. 1.
In the last nine years, Plantsville Elementary students have raised over $25,000 to benefit children at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. Foxathon was inspired by and works in conjunction with the University of Connecticut’s HuskyTHON.
“I originally started Foxathon when my daughter, who was a University of Connecticut student at the time, wanted me to help her raise money for HuskyTHON,” said fifth grade teacher Sandy Chavez. “My teacher partner and I, and my daughter, decided that we would see if the fifth grade students could put their hearts and souls into organizing a purely student-led event to benefit CCMC, and they did.”
Each Foxathon honors a special guest—a local student who has spent time at CCMC. This year, a young girl from St. Paul Catholic High School named Olivia shared her personal story. Olivia was born with half a heart, and has undergone three heart surgeries in her lifetime.
“Now, I’m a competitive cheerleader. I’m in all honors classes, and I maintain a good life,” she said. “This money really helps kids like me.”
Students were joined by a few members from the HuskyTHON management team, along with Miss Connecticut Bridget Oei, Miss Mum City Outstanding Teen Maggie Wernicki and Miss Southington Outstanding Teen Rielley Coles.
“I am a graduate from UCONN where we do the HuskyTHON and dance for an 18-hour marathon,” said Oei. “We are so, so proud of the work you’ve all done. I know the patients will love you guys forever for supporting them and we cannot thank you enough.”
Students created their own morale dance that kicked off the dancing marathon. All students followed a leadership team on the stage before breaking out into individual freestyle dancing.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Roy, email her at SRoy@SouthingtonObserver.com.