It is with great joy that our School Board of Directors awarded Seth Baron and Leslie Sorkin with the Lion’s Pride award for June 2014.
They are the teachers-leaders for the Lower Moreland High School Mini-Thon and the amount of time they put into THON is incredible!
They, along with an interview panel of the two senior co-heads and alumni, begin a captain interview process in May of sophomores for the 13 different committees. The committee assignments range from publicity, to food, to corporate or event fundraising.
They then hold Sunday evening meetings with the captains starting in August and lasting up until the 12-hour Mini-THON held in November.
There are other fundraising events held throughout the year including a Halloween Party for the elementary grades, seeking donations from attendees at Eagles games, and a lunch event at a local restaurant and a supermarket were a percentage of the cost of orders went to the Mini-THON. Student participants also sought donations from businesses, friends, and families for participating in the Mini-THON. The time that Seth and Leslie devote to Mini-THON literally ranges in the hundreds of hours.
The Mini-THON got its start, after several attempts by Seth and various students, by Penn Staters on our staff, Greg Pezza and Leslie, who got re-acquainted during their first year of teaching at Murray Avenue. When Greg moved to the High School, he connected Seth and Leslie and the rest, as they say, is history!
Lower Moreland’s Mini-THON is an official part of the Penn State Dance Marathon. THON is the largest student-run philanthropy organization in the world, with all proceeds going to help fight pediatric cancer at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center. This year, on November 22nd, over 400 Lower Moreland students stood for 12 straight hours without rest to raise money for the Four Diamonds Fund. The Four Diamonds Fund makes sure that no family affected by pediatric cancer ever sees a bill. These families' expenses, including medical bills, travel costs, etc., are entirely covered by the Four Diamonds Fund. Every year, nearly 100 families are helped by Four Diamonds.
The participants are our high school students of all grades. Some of the highlights of Mini-THON include family hour, the grade-vs-grade lip-sync and dance competitions, the luminaire walk, and the wall of hands. Several Four Diamonds Families have graciously joined our Mini-THON family, and they spend time with us during the event to share stories of the hardships pediatric cancer has caused their families. Points are allotted for each game and, at the end of Mini-THON, a winning grade is announced. The coup-de-grace is, at the end of the evening, the numbers are lifted, revealing the total amount of money raised.
The event raised $130,519 in 2014 and the students hope to break the half a million mark next year for their combined seven years of Mini-THON. The Mini-THON is an excellent service project for Lower Moreland students. They are able to learn, among other things, leadership, fundraising, marketing, and logistical skills. More importantly, they learn empathy for the families fighting pediatric cancer.
The legacy of Lower Moreland’s Mini-THON is also spreading. In July 2012, the student leaders held a workshop for nine schools to help them start their own Mini-THONS and many of these schools have adopted the practices of Lower Moreland. Alumni have gone on to establish THONS at their colleges, including University of Maryland and Temple University. Every year, alumni also return to watch Mini-THON and donate money.
The motto of THON is "FTK". Everything that Seth and Leslie do is "For The Kids". Whether putting in long hours planning Mini-THON or standing without rest for 12 hours, they are our inspiration.