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West High Recognized for Donation to Lurie Children's Hospital

West Aurora High School's Dance Marathon Committee set out to raise $10,000 for Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital last year and got more than just a feeling of satisfaction after hitting their goal.

On February 28 at the Chicago hospital, West High will become the first high school to be added to Lurie's "Donor Wall" at the bronze level for donating $10,084. Tricia Schrope, Dance Marathon Committee sponsor, said she and the students were shocked when they learned about the honor.

"We didn't know that was even a possibility," Schrope said of being added to the donor wall. "We never went into it thinking about any recognition. It's really such a big honor."

The committee has approximately 60 students who participate in weekly meetings or at events, but there are still more who volunteer with the group because "we're the fun club, the fun committee," Schrope offered.

The Dance Marathon charitable program is part the Children's Miracle Network umbrella which drives donations to local hospitals. Lurie is the nearest one to West High, and every dollar raised by the committee goes to the hospital's work on behalf of patients and their families.

Schrope sees that as a possible advantage when it comes to fundraising. There's also the variety of ways the committee sets out to collect donations that make it stand out. From "Pizza Wars" and a student-staff basketball game to a parking spot raffle and chances to do "Spin the Wheel" for prizes, the committee tries to bring a little fun into the mix for their classmates all in the name of helping a good cause.

"The kids worked very hard on these fundraisers," Schrope said, adding the committee looks for "any little way we can do an easy fundraiser and find a quick way to raise money." The committee raised the bar for this school year by setting a $12,000 goal. So far, they have collected about $7,000 heading into the busy spring stretch.

Schrope also highlights the big Dance Marathon event planned for April 7 at West High from 6 to 10 p.m. Students and the public can spend $5 for a night of dancing, games and free food in what she called a "little carnival" atmosphere.

After 22 years working for West Aurora, Schrope enthusiastically recognizes what the Lurie honor and the committee's upcoming fun represent.

"This is really what West High is about. West High is about giving back and thinking beyond ourselves," she said.

image of bronze level award