As most of Huntingdon county knows, recently over 550 students from around the area danced the night away at Juniata Valley High School in order to raise money for nine area families in need at CHAMP 2019. Over $61,000 was raised, marking the highest amount of money raised during a CHAMP event to date. Not only did JV host this year’s CHAMP, but they also managed to raise the most money with a grand total of over $11,000, giving them the coveted CHAMP Cup. JV also raised the most money last year.
With so much money raised in so little time, it is no surprise at how much work, dedication and time JV staff, chaperones and captains put into making CHAMP successful.
“The most difficult task was organizing everything for the event itself,” said Bobbi Manyara, one of the hosts of CHAMP this year. “We had to have security, custodians, cafeteria staff, chaperones, CHAMP families and local dignitaries as well as over 550 students in one place at the same time.”
Kelly Johnson, who was the face of CHAMP at JV, was the “driving force behind the success of CHAMP this year,” said Manyara. Both Manyara and Johnson were in charge of planning and organizing the fundraisers at JV for CHAMP, including a craft fair that raised more than $2,000.
“At JV, we sold Gardner’s candy and spirit bracelets in order to raise additional money,” said Manyara. “We also had a kiss the pig contest that teachers from the elementary school and high school participated in.” The faculty members who had the most money in their donation jars had to kiss a pig at a district wide CHAMP kick-off assembly.
Halee Smith, a junior and CHAMP captain from JV, spoke about the role the student captains had in CHAMP: “We had meetings with the other CHAMP captains to set up the itinerary and think of the different activities that we could have throughout the night. We put so much time and effort into CHAMP and I think it is such a great opportunity for students to get involved since it brings us closer as a community.”
The evening of CHAMP kicked off with a ceremony held in the high school auditorium where several people who were CHAMP families in previous years spoke about the importance of being involved. This year’s CHAMP families were then recognized and students were sent to the high school gym to officially start the dance.
“It was one of the best ones yet,” said Cathleen Miller, a junior from Huntingdon Area High School. “It feels so great to be a part of something that helps so many people in the community.”
JV teacher and CHAMP chaperone Andra Minor agreed that it was the best CHAMP yet. “I remember the first CHAMP five years ago when I went with a small group of JV students, maybe like 20 or so,” Minor stated. “This year JV had over 140 students attend, which is amazing, and I know the other schools have increased their participation as well. It was a great night overall, I enjoyed being with the students and staff from the other schools raising money for a great cause!”
Mara Singer, aunt of baby Maverick Singer who benefited from CHAMP this year, explained just how special it was for her to attend. “It was a lot of fun spending time with friends from all over the county while doing something good for the families that live in it. It was personally touching for myself, my brother, my sister-in-law and my nephew being one of the nine beneficiaries. Seeing everyone come together for them warmed my heart,” said Singer.
“I really enjoyed organizing the event alongside such wonderful people” said Manyara. “The whole thing was a great experience for everyone involved. The CHAMP captains are truly invested in the process and in the goal of the event. They have shown so much dedication to CHAMP while continuing to excel in their academics and sports. All of the students and faculty should be proud that the hard work paid off.”