SOUTH GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – At the end of a long Friday under the roofs of three picnic pavilions, the students of South Glens Falls Jr.-Sr. High School knew they had accomplished something under unprecedented circumstances.

The 44th annual South High Marathon Dance, hosted last Friday at The Great Escape, raised a total of $506,013.13 for charities and individuals fighting illness in the North Country, as part of an over $9 million total spanning that four decades.

That total includes months of fundraising leading up to the dance itself, as well as fundraising done by local businesses supporting the dance. This year’s dance was moved to the Six Flags park for COVID-19 safety.

“It really is about relationships in schools. It’s about relationships we make with each other… and the community,” said Superintendent of Schools Kristine Orr in a post on the district website.

In 2020, the dance raised $801,281.38. A lower number this year was expected, according to officials connected to the dance.

This year’s top student fundraiser was Maddie King, who raised $9,450 on her own.

The 15-hour dance was livestreamed through the South High Marathon Dance website, and included non-dance portions including student interviews and music.

This year’s dance helped 24 different beneficiaries, including:

  • The family of Todd Ash
  • The family of Alyssa Bessey
  • The family of Jerry Brauser
  • The family of Arthur Coon
  • The family of Tammy Corbett
  • The family of Jakob French
  • The family of Sophia Glans
  • The family of Finn Herringshaw
  • The family of Kelly Moore
  • The family of Christina Perry
  • The family of Cara Rumrill
  • The family of Kaitlin Valla
  • The family of Shane Walsh
  • Alzhiemer Association
  • American Red Cross of NENY
  • Angel Names Association
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters
  • Cancer Center Community Crusader
  • Jeanne Feline Corp
  • Moreau Community Center
  • Adopt A Soldier
  • Rebuilding Together Saratoga County
  • Saratoga Center for the Family
  • South Glens Falls Kindness Closet

The over 600 dancers at this year’s dance, as well as others who helped set up and put on the mid-COVID iteration of the charity tradition, were recipients of the first-ever South High Marathon Dance Challenge Coin.

800 coins were made and given out covertly to those who helped the dance kick off.

The coins are based on the general idea of a challenge coin, an item given to prove involvement with or commitment to an organization. According to SHMD, the coins are to only be given covertly, as a way to commemorate great public service.