Little Egg Harbor – Pinelands Regional High School hosted the inaugural Cat-a-Thon on Friday, May 19. This family-friendly fundraising event, held on the school’s football field, required teams to recruit sponsors to support their dancing throughout the evening.
Cat-a-Thon raised $2,800 to benefit Pinelands School Based Youth Services and its programs, provide student scholarships and assist individuals and community groups in need. The event was planned by Pinelands SBYS, the Pinelands student service group Wildcats in Action and other students and staff.
Wildcats in Action seniors Danielle Nutt, Monica Mahon, and Reagan Germain worked hard to attract participants. “It was a bit crazy,” said Nutt, “because this was the first year.” Germain said putting on Cat-a-Thon was a “big learning process, but we expected that because we were starting something new.” Germain said that she was grateful that all of the PRHS sports teams – softball, lacrosse, etc. – as well as specific departments, such as drama, had teams on the field for the event. Tuckerton Elementary School also had its own team.
“We wanted to create an event that would attract the entire community to our campus to have fun while raising money that will essentially go back into the community to support an individual, family or group when a need arises,” said Karen Kenney, Pinelands SBYS director. She noted that Cat-A-Thon would not have been possible without strong support from Pinelands’ administration and the Board of Education.
And the community joined in – through creating their own teams to donating food and water. Even the music for the event was donated. Impulse Entertainment from Little Egg Harbor provided the tunes. DJ Mike Cofer, a 2003 grad from PRHS, donated his time. “I do a lot with the schools,” said Cofer, “it’s good to give back to the community.”
One of the immediate beneficiaries of Cat-A-Thon was PRHS senior Meghan Crawford, who received a scholarship. Crawford, a member of the softball team, was an “easy choice” for the scholarship, according to Wildcats in Action advisor and SBYS social worker Kaitlyn Zedalis. “Her parents and the whole softball team are here to honor her,” said Zedalis. Germain, who is a close friend of Crawford, said that despite a diagnosis of leukemia in ninth-grade, Crawford has “stayed strong, was first in her class during her treatment, and she has just made such an impact on everyone.”
“We are hoping Cat-a-Thon will teach students that they all are a part of something bigger than themselves,” said Zedalis. “They are all a part of this community, and they have a responsibility to be an active participant in their community.”