As a new school, it initially set out with a modest goal of fundraising $30,000.
Instead, Windermere High doubled that amount.
By fundraising $60,098, Windermere High School, which just opened its doors in Fall 2017, ranked 13th in the nation’s list of top fundraising high schools for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. West Orange High School, which ranked 16th in the nation, raised $52,070.
Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals is a nonprofit organization that raises funds for 170 hospitals across the U.S. and Canada. West Orange County’s local CMN-member hospital is Orlando Health’s Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, which is located at 92 W. Miller St.
Since 1983, CMN hospitals have raised more than $5.7 billion, which is donated to local hospitals and used to fund critical treatments, healthcare services, pediatric medical equipment and charitable care to help children.
The Miracle Network Dance Marathon is a national movement involving college, university and high school students that started in 1991 to help fundraise for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
Throughout the year, students spearhead multiple fundraising efforts by hosting events to reach their goal. The total amount raised is then revealed during an eight to 40-hour dance marathon on each campus, where students get to meet the families of patients being treated at their local hospital.
“We start fundraising at the beginning of the year,” said Sophie Hadley, a junior at Windermere High who serves as the school’s dance marathon director. “We do things like Spirit Night and Movie Night. We do carwashes. We just sold some bundt cakes. We did a dodgeball game that raised a little over $2,000, and we shared that money with the Yellow Brick Road Foundation as well. So that’s one thing we want to do this year, we want to make sure we get the community more involved to raise more money for the kids.”
Since its inception, Miracle Network dance marathons held throughout the country have raised more than $250 million.
In 2016, $31.4 million was raised via Miracle Network Dance Marathons. And in 2017, $38 million was raised for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. According to their website, 100% of the donations are distributed to the 170 CMN-member hospitals.
“It was awesome,” Hadley said, recalling last year’s dance marathon. “As the director, I was allowed to hold up the last number, and we were all really wondering how much we were going to raise, especially since we knew we beat our $30,000 goal early on, but we didn’t know by how much. And we just recently found out that out of all the dance marathons in the United States, we ranked number 13, which is crazy as a first-year school to be able to do that."