The gray gloom that hung over Penn High School could not compare to the bright and fun-filled atmosphere of Penn’s first ever Dance Marathon for Riley Children’s Hospital on Saturday, April 14th.

Hosted by the club’s leaders, Mrs. Ball, Ms. O’Brien, and the executive board, the party had activities for all ages; the only rule: keep on dancing. President Olivia Coughlin explains why they dance, “We’re dancing for the kids. That’s our motto, everything we do is for the kids. We are dancing and staying on our feet for so many hours for the kids fighting those diseases and the staff at Riley.” Between dancing were activities such as face painting, a bounce house, games, and stories from Riley families.

Members of the Riley community shared stories of their health obstacles, how Riley made them feel comfortable, and at home. One Riley family recalls the care and love they were shown on their first Christmas as a family, “On Christmas Eve, we were sitting in [our daughter’s room] when a nurse asked us to come with her… A doctor that had just gotten done with his shift dressed up as Santa and we got to meet him and take our picture with him… They’re such a loving and caring community.”

Children danced and jumped in the bounce house while students played games and socialized for the full eight hours before the big reveal of their grand fundraising total. Presented by the executive committee, the club fundraised over $25,000. Members cheered, families cried, and everyone celebrated the hard work put in by Penn students and Riley patients.

Ms. O’Brien shared her enthusiasm, “I’m so proud of them. They’ve put in so much work and time for such a selfless act, they gave up their entire Saturday for the kids.” Penn High School now holds the record for the largest donation as a first year organization ever.


By Kevin McNulty

Kevin McNulty teaches English and Mass Media Studies at Penn High School. He advises the Penn News Network and manages the PNN Studio and news room. For more information, navigate your browser to