By TARA JENNINGS, Staff Writer
February 26, 2019
2019’s Rock-a-Thon started at five o’clock in the afternoon on Friday, February 22, and lasted until five o’clock the following Saturday night. Every year, students sign up for the Rock-a-Thon to spend twenty-four hours in North Brunswick Township High School’s Commons, eating snacks and playing games with friends; this year was no exception, with seventy-five students participating.
The Rock-a-Thon has been a longstanding tradition at NBTHS. Meant to raise money for charity, the event is open to all NBTHS students; the only requirements are that the student must raise at least eighty-five dollars and provide their own rocking chair, which they have to sit in for the full twenty-four hours (except for an hourly five-minute break). Some students sign up to be “runners”, who are able to move freely about the Commons but are also responsible for distributing food and drinks to the rockers. Any student who participates in the Rock-a-Thon is also expected to stay awake for the whole event, although a three-hour “quiet time” was allowed this year for any students who needed a nap.
The 2019 Rock-a-Thon got off to a rough start when students were forced to evacuate the building at around five o’clock Friday night due to a report of smoke coming from the boiler room. Fortunately, this problem was quickly fixed, and participating students were soon able to set themselves up in groups all around the Commons. To pass the time, many students brought TVs; some kids worked on homework assignments or played games; friends and family were also able to visit from five to eight o’clock Friday night and from eight o’clock Saturday morning to five o’clock that afternoon. A speaker from Hugs for Brady, a charity supported by the Rock-a-Thon, came to speak on Friday, while students were able to play Bingo and had a group sing-along on Saturday.
NBTHS students play games and eat snacks in the Commons during the Rock-a-Thon on Friday, February 22, 2019. The event is meant to help local charities, but many kids also sign up for a chance to have fun with their friends. Photo Courtesy of Tara Jennings
Mrs. Wright, a history teacher at NBTHS, has been in charge of the Rock-a-Thon since joining the staff in 2002. Because she participated in the event for all four years of her own time as a student at NBTHS, Mrs. Wright continues to organize the Rock-a-Thon every year, and says that her favorite part is getting to see so many kids come together to do something nice for charity.
When asked about their decision to sign up for the Rock-a-Thon, many students agreed that raising money for charity was a big part of it. Delaney Timm, a first-year rocker, said, “I did the Rock-a-Thon this year because I’m a senior who’s never done it before and I wanted to have the experience while I could. I also wanted to help charity.” Renee Hales, a senior and three-year rocker, and Ava Gianni, a freshman and first-year rocker, both said that they decided to sign up because they wanted to spend time with friends, with Gianni adding, “I thought it would be a really cool experience, and I’ve heard that it looks good on a college application.”
The chance to spend time with friends is many students’ favorite part about the Rock-a-Thon; this includes Kaycey Wasserman, a senior and first-year rocker who said she also enjoyed eating lots of snacks. Jake Williams, meanwhile, said, “My favorite part about the Rock-a-Thon is that you get to spend time with your friends but at the same time raise money for charity.” Williams is a senior and four-year rocker, one of only five kids this year who obtained that title.
Robbie Neumann, another of these four-year rockers, had some advice to give to future participants. “I’d recommend bringing the largest TV you can fit in your car, using your life savings to buy all the good snacks from ShopRite that your mom doesn’t let you buy, and bringing a rocking chair that doesn’t hurt your butt after the first hour,” he said.
Overall, the Rock-a-Thon is an enjoyable event that has helped raise $250,000 over its thirty-four year existence. (In 2019 alone, students raised over $8,000.) Most of this money goes to Hugs for Brady, a foundation hoping to help end childhood cancer, while the rest of the proceeds go to the current SGO charity (in 2019, this is the Where Angels Play Foundation) and the local food bank. With Mrs. Wright’s annual organization and more students participating than ever, the Rock-a-Thon is a tradition at NBTHS that likely isn’t going anywhere any time soon.