The 41st annual Superdance Assembly kicked off the 2016 Superdance preparations. Students learned more about the 41-year tradition of the 12-hour dance marathon to help find a cure for cystic fibrosis, through a student-run assembly that included music, dance, skits and games. Superdance committee members revealed this year's theme, "May the Cure Be With You," through a variety of skits and videos that parodied Star Wars movies.
Special guest speakers at the assembly included faculty members, Mrs. Cerniglia, Mrs. Connolly and Ms.Riley, who shared personal stories that reflected on the history of Superdance. Mrs. Megan Jorn '79, who is a member of the O'Donnell family (for which the Superdance tradition began) spoke from the heart about her loving family and about growing up with four siblings with cystic fibrosis. The Given family, along with fourteen-year-old Yasmin Canales, alumnus Danny Bessette '02 and O'Connell senior Walter Whitt, shared their very personal struggles with cystic fibrosis and their appreciation for the O'Connell community. Brian McCarthy, who has attended assemblies since he was a baby in his mother's arms, spoke to the students via video from California.
Since the first Superdance in 1976, Bishop O'Connell students have raised more than $4 million to support research programs to find a cure for cystic fibrosis.
What is Superdance? Superdance is a 12-hour dance marathon held annually at Bishop O’Connell High School to raise money to help find a cure for cystic fibrosis. The students of Bishop O'Connell have raised more than $4 million since the dance was founded in 1975. This event is the largest high school fundraiser for this cause. More than 95 percent of the student body participates in this event each year. The twelve hours is packed with live bands, DJs, games and much more.
What is the Superdance Assembly? Approximately one month before Superdance, the student body gather in the school auditorium for a three-hour assembly organized by the student council and members of the Superdance committees. The program includes a variety of guest speakers, videos, dancing, games and student presentations, all for the purpose of educating those assembled on the realities of cystic fibrosis and energizing the students as they prepare for the dance marathon. At the end of the assembly, this year’s theme for Superdance is revealed.
What is Cystic Fibrosis (CF)? Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide). A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections; and obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food. In the 1950s, few children with cystic fibrosis lived to attend elementary school. Today, advances in research and medical treatments have further enhanced and extended life for children and adults with CF. Many people with the disease can now expect to live into their 30s, 40s and beyond. Find out more at www.cff.org.
History/Origin of Superdance Since 1975, Bishop O'Connell students have been hosting a 12-hour dance marathon to help find a cure for cystic fibrosis and their quest to find a cure for this genetic disease. The first dance marathon was organized by Msgr. James McMurtrie—then principal of the school—and Maura O'Donnell, whose sister had succumbed to cystic fibrosis not long before. For more than 30 years, Superdance has become a uniting force at Bishop O'Connell. Maura O'Donnell, who helped start this tradition, went on to nursing school, but also died from CF a few years later. Representatives of the O'Donnell family, and other families stricken with this disease, come each year to the Superdance assembly to help educate and inspire the students.
Superdance Highlighted in Catholic Online Magazine
Kathryn Elliott, a 2008 graduate of Bishop O'Connell, contributed a touching article on the origins of our annual Superdance fundraiser for Cystic Fibrosis, and the legacy of the O'Donnell family, to the January 2011 issue of the Catholic devotional magazine, The Word Among Us. Read the article at http://wau.org/archives/article/dancing_for_dear_life/.
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