"Mini-Thon" may no longer be an appropriate name.
That's because Tamaqua's Mini-Thon, which is held to raise money for the American Cancer Society, seems to get bigger and better every year. Although the event has plenty of teacher involvement, students plan and run the event, held for the third time Saturday.
"I've been involved since we started, three years ago," said Kyle Weaver, a junior who's a member of Tamaqua Area Student Government Association and edits the school's magazine, the Blue and White. "The American Cancer Society started its fundraising efforts here at the school 35 years ago, and three years ago we decided we wanted to bring it back."
As he has for three years, Weaver designed a T-shirt for the event, with the theme Kids Helping Kids. Funds raised are earmarked for pediatric cancer research. The check will be presented during the 35th Annual American Cancer Society telethon at Penn's Peak on April 6.
Brianna Bittner, president of TASGA, said that although organizing the event is a lot of work, it's all worth it.
"It's a lot of work to decide how we want to do things and who will do those things," Bittner said. "But the biggest part is, how can we get people here to support it?"
That question was answered Saturday, as hundreds of people supported their efforts. The Mini-Thon events included a student versus faculty basketball game, a volleyball tournament and an open swim. In the hallways, students ran food and dessert tables, and games for younger students.
The basketball game ended in a tie and was decided by a shootout, as representatives from each team took turns trying to make a shot from a three-point range. Tamaqua graduate Erika (Barron) Davis, who graced the hardwoods during a standout career, swished her shot to give the win to the teachers. Davis teaches fourth graders at West Penn Elementary School.
Steve Ulicny, Tamaqua social students teacher and adviser for TASGA, said he's lost several family members to cancer, and added that it's important to keep the school district's connection with the Telethon.
"It (the American Cancer Society fundraiser and telethon) actually started here 35 years ago as a student government activity," Ulicny said. "Our kids organize everything and they do a great job we raised more than $4,000 last year and would like to beat that."
Businesses which donated to the event, and were listed on the back of the Kids Helping Kids T-shirt include: Charlotte Solt Reality, Gloria Dillon Studio of Dance, Heritage Sign and Display, Knepper's Inn, La Dolce Casa Restaurant, McMullen's Market, Physical Therapy Associates, Sister's Cantina, Two Kings Italian Restaurant, Houser Auctioneers and Bowe, Lisella and Bowe.