Dance Marathon in aid of Eden High School raises thousands
Herts & Essex Dance Marathon
It was no average Tuesday at Herts & Essex on 14 November when the New Hall was transformed into a non-stop disco. Students swapped their uniform, dressed up and got ready to party! The Dance Marathon started at 9.00am sharp and there was no better way to spend Period 1 and to get the day off to a great start. Students came down in year groups and danced their way through the set lists that members of staff had put together. The DJ deck, created by the D&T Department’s Mr Tim Webb and Mrs Hannah Draper, was put to good use especially by Mr David Chadwick aka Funkmaster DJ Cheese who got the party started and the hall jumping with a set for the Year 9 students.
Music thumped through the school; it was a great atmosphere! Enjoying the day was the main focus, but what was equally important was the reason behind it and the fantastic amount of money that was raised in the process. Each student donated money to wear non-uniform but also raised money through sponsorship. In total the amount raised was in excess of £4,300 which will go to projects at Eden High School, Herts & Essex’s partner school in Uganda.
The partnership with Eden High School started over a decade ago by Herts & Essex Biology teacher Ann Forbes, who received an MBE for the work she had done both in the UK and Uganda. Since then, the partnership has gone from strength to strength. Each year a group of Year 13 students visit Eden, help with teaching and school maintenance and reinforce the bond between the schools. The trip is often one that students have looked forward to from Year 7. Fundraising events for Eden are always a big part of the Herts & Essex calendar whether raising money or collecting items to take over to Uganda. This year’s group took a collection of sanitary products and bras which was welcomed with great excitement and thanks.
Mr Ian Chapman, the school’s Senior Assistant Head and the brainchild behind the Dance Marathon, commented: ‘The day has been a great success. Everyone has embraced the idea and really got behind it. We couldn’t have had better support from staff, students and their parents.’ Chloe Dash, the school’s Librarian, and who now co-ordinates the Uganda trips, said, ‘We’ve had a great day and what’s really fantastic is how much money we have raised by doing it. Eden is a cause very close to our hearts here at Herts & Essex and it’s amazing to see the whole school community being so supportive.’
The Dance Marathon was hot and it was sweaty, but it was great fun! And what better way to strengthen the school communities – both here and abroad – and to raise money at the same time.
A message from Ann Forbes, Herts & Essex Governor and Eden High School Link Co-ordinator
The non-uniform day and Dance Marathon on Wednesday raised over £4,300 - a fantastic sum of money - for the community of Eden High School in Uganda. Thank you for all the donations - we are grateful to all our students, parents and staff for the overwhelming support.
I visited Eden just a few weeks ago and the students from S4 (Y11) and S6(Y13) were sitting mock examinations in the main hall in semi darkness because of a power cut; there are power cuts almost every day. The funds raised on Wednesday will go a long way towards providing solar power for much of Eden: the boys’ and girls’ dormitories will have light in the evening, as will the classrooms, the office, the staff room and the kitchen. As a result Eden will be able to be off-grid and free of the extremely expensive and intermittent mains electricity.
So many of the children at Eden are “children in need”. Whilst I was there I met Shifrah, whose father had died some time ago and her mum was too poor to support her. Shifrah’s paternal uncle was supporting her and paying her school boarding fees. Sadly, her uncle was killed in an armed robbery leaving Shifrah with no support at all. The Eden Directors agreed immediately that Shiraf would stay as a boarder at Eden so that Eden would, in effect, become her home. Shifrah is now one of Eden’s many sponsored students and is taking her GCSE exams this month.
I received the following message from Cornelius Byamugisha, one of Eden’s four directors: “Herts & Essex’s continued support will keep the candle burning at Eden High School. Long live Herts and Essex school community; long live all our sponsors who continue to offer their money to change the lives of disadvantaged young Ugandans so that they can also have a better future both for themselves and for their country. Lots of love to all.”