The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite


LM Student Council plans their first ever Mini-THON to raise money for childhood cancer.
Graphic by Eliza Liebo ’25/Staff

Following in the footsteps of Pennsylvania State University, this year on March 1, LM will be hosting their first ever Mini-THON to benefit childhood cancer. In 1937, a group of students at Penn State, looking to enhance philanthropy for their community, started what is now known as THONTM, the largest student run-philanthropic organization in the world. Four years later, the partnership between THONTM and Four Diamonds, a childhood cancer foundation, was solidified. Now, every February, a large group of Penn State students dance for 46 hours straight to raise money for Four Diamonds and assist the families of those battling childhood cancer. The impact of THONTM has grown immensely and now features 225 schools who hold Mini-Thons throughout Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia. This year, for the first time ever, LM’s student council will be joining these fun-draising efforts with hopes of fundraising for childhood cancer.

LM’s Mini-THON began this on January 18 with a Sparkle Spelling Bee to jumpstart fundraising efforts leading up to the big event in March. Teams paid an entry fee and competed for an entire lunch period for the prize of half of their money back. The rest of the profits went straight to the fundraiser. Ultimately, the team consisting of student council cabinet and committee head members came out victorious in the spelling bee and decided to donate the total sum of profits to the cause. Natalie Hillis ’24, student council vice president reflected on the group’s choice to donate the money: “Mini-THON’s motto, FTK (for the kids), is a tribute to this great organization’s mission: supporting children fighting cancer. In the spirit of this motto, we decided to donate all of the profits of the event.” This sentiment was, and continues to be, the guiding force behind LM Student Council’s decision to take on Mini-THON. Originally a part of Hillis’ campaign last April, Mini-THON is helping to bring a more philanthropic approach to student council’s overall goal of benefitting the school.

The student council underclassman committee, composed of sophomores Zach Levin, Sasha Grollman, and Katie Potts-Drew, are spearheading the efforts of Mini-THON and are still in the process of developing what is coming next. Here is a look into the planning process, the goals, and all of the excitement to come. Scheduled for March 1, Mini-THON promises a vibrant experience with games, food, music, and dancing, all in support of Four Diamonds. An inclusive invitation awaits club leaders, educators, and the entire student community to participate in the upcoming Mini-THON. While there is a general donation link available on all student council media, there are also minor fundraisers, similar to the spelling bee, taking place throughout the next month. Look out for combined restaurant fundraisers with Panera, Honeygrow, Krispy Kreme, and Ardmore Station Cafe on the weekend of February 24.

A recent highlight of this process was the enthusiastic response at the last full Student Council meeting, where forty students eagerly signed up to join the newly established Mini-THON committee. This committee, designed specifically for fundraising and event planning, is gaining momentum as we approach the event date. Currently, heading into the final month before Mini-THON, student council is dedicated to securing sponsors for the event itself and its philanthropic goals.

As the date approaches, student council goal is to continue to emphasize the guiding force behind Mini-THON: creating a community of people working towards a shared cause. When asked what inspires her most about Mini-THON, Anne DeBord, associate director of Four Diamonds, shared, “What inspires me every day is working with Mini-THON students who are developing their leadership skills and being the light in their school. They will be our philanthropists of tomorrow.”

Amongst the many valuable products that Mini-THON produces, is the feeling of belonging and togetherness that it brings to a school and its surrounding community. As explained by Debord, “Mini-THON is a place where every student can belong and see the impact they make on kids with a cancer diagnosis.” In the midst of offering her own insight on the potential of Mini-Thon, Debord shared her favorite quote by Charles Millard, the Four Diamonds Co-Founder, “When you bring together people for an important cause, there are no limits.”


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