Madison Mummert, a Southern Middle School student, held buckets of water in an endurance contest, called Fatigue Factor, a Mini-THON event.
Madison Mummert, a Southern Middle School student, held buckets of water in an endurance contest, called Fatigue Factor, a Mini-THON event.
Southern Middle School students raised $18,782 to help children with cancer.

The money, which surpassed last year's figure of $12,728, was raised during the fourth annual Mini-THON held at the school. Students danced, raced and played games and made crafts for seven hours to help the Four Diamonds Fund which assists children who are treated with for cancer at Penn State Children's Hospital, along with their families.

The students had to stand for the full seven hours, but that was made a little bit easier thanks to entertainment by a Zumba instructor; a DJ and two student bands, Frostbite and Black Jacks; and a visit with members of the Bobby Family, a local Four Diamonds family.

Teacher Caleb Walls has his head shaven at the pep rally.
Teacher Caleb Walls has his head shaven at the pep rally.

There was a suprise visit from Chaz Powell, a Susquehannock High School graduate and Penn State football player. He encouraged students to do their best on the upcoming PSSA tests and spoke of the peaks and valleys he and his teammates faced during Penn State's most recent football season.

"If I can do it, you can, too. Keep pushing forward and do your best," Powell said. "You might get the opportunity one day to do what I'm doing now."

Students also raised money through a variety of in-school activities, such as duct-taping teachers and dunk-a-teacher, which involved dunking teachers in a water tank.

Teachers Steve Hildebrand and Calen Walls had their heads shaved during the pep rally held in the students' honor.

For the first time, the middle school fundraising website provided a secure way for contributors to send their payments directly to the Four Diamonds Fund.

"You should be very proud. Parents, students and community members were so generous," teacher and SMS Four Diamonds advisor Laura Szkudlapski told the students.

Inspired by Penn State's yearly dance event, THON, the Mini-THON was the culmination of a year-long fundraising effort, headed by Szkudlapski.