Bellport High School's "Stay Awake-a-Thon"

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High School students being encouraged to stay up all night? That's exactly what happened at Bellport High School on March 5th, 2016 - except this time it wasn't for homework.

As part of their entry into Optimum's Community Charity Champions Challenge, the High School Student Council organized a "Stay Awake a-Thon" where students tirelessly raised money for HELP Suffolk, a temporary housing facility located in the South Country School District. Students were asked to raise at least $100 to participate in the event; 40 students accomplished the goal, many raising much more than was required. Altogether, over $3,000 was raised for the organization. "It was a success due to everyone's willingness to stay up for a good cause," said senior Marisa Rupolo, an executive officer of StuCo.

Not only did the students take part in a charitable act, but they had fun doing it! "I was so excited the whole time," senior Linnzi Hossein-Sarro said. "We played volleyball for many hours - like eight straight hours." Other activities included Dance, Dance Revolution, basketball, Twister, playing with a parachute and karaoke.

"We had a squirt bottle that we went around with squirting people who were falling asleep," senior Joshuah Cohen, the Vice President of Student Council, added.

Senior Jaye Bookhart said, "If you spend the night with anyone - straight hours - you create a bond like no other. I made a lot of new friends with people I've never spoken to before."

Bellport High School is one of only eight schools selected to be a part of the Optimum Community Challenge. Brookhaven Town Councilman Loguercio and a representative of Optimum came to the event and awarded HELP Suffolk with a $1,000 check on behalf of the Bellport High School Student Council to benefit the organization as a start to Bellport's fundraising campaign. StuCo is now planning a 5k to further raise money for HELP Suffolk. The 5k will be held on May 15th, 2016 in Brookhaven. Registration will be available online or on the day of the race. Email ehoffman@southcountry.org for more information.

By Cassie O'Connor