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The one hundred honoree: Dancing With The Teachers

Hospital News

The one hundred honoree: Dancing With The Teachers

Mass General Giving

In 2010, Amy Leibel and Jennifer Harrington, English teachers at Fieldstone Middle School in Thiells, New York, were searching for an exciting and engaging way to show their students the value of working together to achieve a common goal and make a positive difference in the world. Together they decided they wanted to organize a fundraiser for Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), an organization dedicated to funding research to find a cure for cancer, a cause to which they all felt a strong connection. During a viewing of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, the popular television program that pairs celebrities with professional dancers, inspiration struck and the idea for “Dancing with the Teachers” was born.

Amy, Jennifer and their student ambassadors recruited 10 faculty members from their school to partner with professional dancers from NY DanceSport located in New City, New York, to perform in a live dance competition to benefit Stand Up To Cancer. Students gave up their lunch hours and free time to raise awareness for the event, asked local businesses for donations of time and materials, sold tickets to their teachers and fellow classmates, and produced the event. After months of hard work, the first annual Dancing with the Teachers was a great success, raising nearly $14,000 to accelerate collaborative and cutting-edge cancer research projects. After the success of the first event, Dancing with the Teachers has transitioned from what started as a small idea, into an annual gala event that has united the entire school community. Arthur Nguyen, communications manager for Stand Up To Cancer, called the evening “an entertaining and inspiring firsthand reminder of why we are all in this fight.”

In the four years since its inception, Dancing with the Teachers has raised and donated more than $100,000 to Stand Up To Cancer and has become one of the organization’s top three grassroots fundraisers. More than 40 dedicated faculty and staff members have danced as contestants. The Dancing with the Teachers team plans to continue recruiting contestants for years to come, all in support of finding a cure.