Picture Depression-era newsreels of couples desperate for money, barely able to stand on their feet, trying to outlast other couples on the dance floor and take home a cash prize.
Fast forward to 2013 and the annual Dance-a-thon at Zebulon Middle School where young dancers recently tried again to outlast other couples on the dance floor. This time they tried to raise money for the United Arts Council.
The gym was covered in decorations depicting the theme “Rock Around the Clock.” The DJ turned up the bass so loud that it shook the room and students jumped up and down pumping their fists. There were hourly prizes, food and drinks to keep the crowd pleased throughout the dance-a-thon. By the time the last the dancers left the floor they had raised $1,346 for the council.
“It’s not easy,” said dancer Chevon Jefferson, an eighth-grader at ZMS. Chevon was taking a break with his friends in the hallway outside the gym.
“I knew that I was going to be tired, but I didn’t know my body would be so sore. My legs are really hurting.”
Jefferson and the other dancers had been on their feet all day.
Last year the dancers raised $1,132. Their goal this year was $1,200 and the dancers raised $146 more than their goal.
The United Arts Council holds a fundraiser each year and solicits donations from Wake County School system employees. The council is a private nonprofit organization that tries to build better communities through support and advocacy of the arts. The money raised returns to the community as grants.
In 2011, Letisa Vereen, a dance teacher at the school asked her co-workers if they would support an event to raise money for the United Arts Council instead of giving individual donations. They agreed. The first year they raised $1,117.