Who knew doing the Harlem Shake could be so profitable?
More than 700 students from South Glens Falls (N.Y.) High School gathered this past weekend for the school’s 36th annual dance marathon and raised $489,716.27 for charitable causes, according to the school’s website.
The students began the dance marathon at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 1, and kept it going through 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 2.
The nearly $500,000 that they raised will be donated to 40 individuals, families, and organizations hand-selected by the students who planned the dance. Recipients include an alumna whose family lost their possessions in a house fire, a 4-year-old boy with a brain tumor, and the Alzheimer’s Association of Northeastern N.Y.
The money raised shattered the old record of $395,352 collected during the 2012 version of the event. Since the event started back in 1978, students have raised more than $3 million for charitable causes, according to the school.
A number of local restaurants and businesses offered their support by donating proceeds to the school. The school also holds both a live auction and silent auction during the marathon dance event to entice community members.
More than 90 percent of the school’s population participates in the dance, according to the school’s website.
“You’re raised in the South Glens Falls community, you’re expected to dance in the marathon dance,” said senior Carly Weller to the Associated Press. “And after you do it once, you’re hooked.”
Because, really, who can turn down the opportunity to do the Harlem Shake with 700 of your closest friends? Check out the school’s own Harlem Shake video from the event:
Of course, the Harlem Shake isn’t necessarily all fun and games, as my colleague Ross Brenneman recently explained on the Rules for Engagement blog. Students at one Pennsylvania high school received two-day suspensions for using a classroom to film their own Harlem Shake video, and a student from Queens, N.Y., was both arrested and suspended for organizing a schoolwide Harlem Shake of his own, according to Ross’ post.
The moral of the story: If you’re going to Harlem Shake at school, make sure it’s for a good cause.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.