Annual Monzo Madness event sees changes due to COVID

No overnights, but plan is for participants to be outside

Washington Township High School will hold its 18th annual Monzo Madness event on May 21, with a few changes.

“We have been planning this all year, so as restrictions have been lifted, we have been able to change things,” said Shera Jahn, co-advisor for the school’s Interact Club. “The two main differences are that it is not overnight and we are doing it outside.”

The Monzo Madness Dance-A-Thon to benefit local victims of Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) was started 18 years ago, when a township high-school teacher lost her sister to the disease. It is  now the Interact Club’s largest fundraiser, and since its creation, has donated over $285,000 to  the ALS Foundation.

The fundraiser invites students from all grade levels to enjoy a night of food and dancing with  classmates and friends. Monzo Madness is usually held in the gymnasium, where students take shifts dancing all night and eating prepared meals. They also have the opportunity to sleep over in the gymnasium and return home in the morning. But plans have changed because of COVID.

“If it goes well, which we are hoping that it does, it is something we are going to continue and change,” Jahn noted. “I also like the idea of having it outdoors in the spring.” 

The event this year will be held outside on the practice football field; students will participate from 2:15 to 10 p.m., but won’t be allowed to stay overnight. Despite the change, Monzo Madness will also include new things for students. 

“We are going to do different stations for the kids.This way, we can keep them as socially distanced as possible,” Jahn explained. “The kids are allowed to dance and we will have music, game stations and food.

“There will be a lot of activities to keep them busy and keep them as distanced and as safe as possible.”

There are 125 students signed up for the event so far, but due to recent restrictions being lifted, the club is accepting more donations and more attendees. 

“It was exciting, and the juniors and seniors were able to have their prom, and they have some events still coming up,” said Jahn. “But the underclassmen really haven’t had many events this year, so it gives them something to do with their friends for a good cause.”

Donations for the event are still accepted and can be sent to Kevin MacNamara at Washington Township High School, 529 Hurffville-Cross Keys Road, Sewell, 08080. Checks can be made payable to WTHS Interact.