2021 BruinThon raises $16,248 for Blair E. Baston Children’s Hospital

From+left+to+right+on+the+top+row%3A+Trinity+Johnson%2C+Mary+Kathryn+David%2C+Erin+Dorsey%2C+Mina+Leffler%2C+Kamina+Griffin%2C+Cece+White%2C+Zach+Shelton%2C+Daniel+Dear%2C+and+Wils+Davis%0ABottom+row%3A+Menley+Clayton%2C+Bianca+McCarty%2C+Ava+Kathryn%2C+Harper+Evers%2C+Gia+Picarella%2C+Kalyn+OQuinn%2C+Ainsley+DAlfonso%2C+Lauren+Burgett%2C+and+Leah+Clark

From left to right on the top row: Trinity Johnson, Mary Kathryn David, Erin Dorsey, Mina Leffler, Kamina Griffin, Cece White, Zach Shelton, Daniel Dear, and Wils Davis Bottom row: Menley Clayton, Bianca McCarty, Ava Kathryn, Harper Evers, Gia Picarella, Kalyn O’Quinn, Ainsley D’Alfonso, Lauren Burgett, and Leah Clark

Nyla Johnson and Leah Clark

The St. Joe Bruins went to the past and had a blast raising $16,248 for Blair E. Baston Children’s Hospital in Jackson, MS.

The 2021 BruinTHON was held April 23 in the St. Joe Gym. Students who signed up for the dance marathon stayed on their feet for 7 hours dancing, playing games, and having fun. To register for the event, students had to raise $75, but some went above and beyond. Freshman JJ Tice was this year’s highest donor with $1,000.

The total from this year’s event was a combination of funds raised this year and last year, as the 2020 event was cancelled due to Covid-19. The pandemic proved to be an obstacle as the committee spent many hours planning the event in a way that would adhere to CDC guidelines. “I was nervous about BruinTHON in the beginning because I didn’t know what our event would look like this year,” said senior Clay Blanchard, who served as the 2021 BruinTHON student director. “But it ended up working out better than we expected.”

Although the event is a single day, preparations for it began at the beginning of the school year when students in grades 10th, 11th, and 12th were able to interview to be part of the 2020-2021 BruinTHON committee. Blanchard, along with her committee, met every Wednesday morning to discuss and plan for the event. With the theme for this year being “decades”, the committee tried to incorporate the theme into all the activities and games during BruinTHON.

One of the biggest decisions that the committee made was to change the time for BruinTHON. Normally, the event would be held from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. However, in order to make sure that students were socially distanced, the dance marathon was held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m this year. Students also wore masks and kept their three feet distance. 

Preceding the event, the BruinTHON committee held various fundraisers throughout the school year. The money raised from bake sales, paper chain contestsValentine’s Day carnations, and pajama days also went towards the event. “Boots for Baston” and “No Shave November” are some of the more notable fundraisers that were held earlier in the year.

BruinTHON was started back in 2011 by St. Joe alumna Christina Lawrence. This year , the event, originally called “Dance Marathon”, celebrated its tenth year. Every year numerous students participate in BruinTHON, which makes it such a success. Many do it for the service hours, but a great number of participants also do it because of their love of giving back.

“It felt empowering and [was] an amazing feeling to know I helped so many kids that are the same age as me and are going through things I’ll never experience,” said eighth-grader Molly Moody. “[BruinTHON] taught me patience and the true meaning of love.”  

BruinTHON has helped the Blair E. Baston Children’s Hospital for multiple years. Students are reminded throughout the year of who benefits from the fundraiser with their motto “For the Kids!” This motto is in reference to the hundreds of kids the hospital treats every year. Some of those kids, along with their families, were able to attend the dance marathon and meet the St. Joe students that were raising funds for them. Meeting the kids allowed students to focus on why they were doing the dance marathon in the first place: to stand for kids who can’t and raise money to allow them access to better healthcare.

Although the annual event is over, BruinTHON has left its mark on St. Joe students. Joining the committee is one of the most giving and fun things I’ve ever done,” said Blanchard. “It’s so gratifying and rewarding.”

The event will be under new leadership with junior Zach Shelton next year. However, Blair E. Baston Children’s Hospital can rest assure that St. Joe will continue to help guarantee that their patients will grow up in a safe and loving environment.