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Block 9: The Tent Where It Happens

Jonah Dylan and Catherine Kim

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Jeffrey Wang/Daily Senior Staffer

University President Morton Schapiro speaks at Dance Marathon during Block 9. This is the eighth DM event in which Schapiro has been Northwestern’s president.

After a block set to many songs from the blockbuster musical “Hamilton,” University President Morton Schapiro took the stage and praised the dancers for their charity work.

“I am so proud to be at a University where you take 30 hours out of your time and you come together as a community … (to) support a great cause simply because that’s the kind of people that you are,” he said.

Schapiro said last year he invited a group of about 70 dancers to his house for dinner, for what he said was the most rewarding dinner he had hosted in his time as president. He added that he plans to invite another 70 dancers this year, mostly those from the 120 Hour Club.

Mary Jo Shepherd — who took her child to GiGi’s Playhouse and is now the program coordinator for adults with Down syndrome — spoke about the facility’s career development program, which was launched in fall 2013. She said many who have gone through the program now have the confidence to seek and secure employment.

“Not only have they become productive members of the society, (but) we’re changing the way society views Down Syndrome — that Down syndrome adults can achieve,” she said.

She thanked the dancers for the money they have raised, some of which she said will be used to provide a daily hour-long health and nutrition training for the adults in the program.

Early in the block, the finance committee announced that dancers had raised $747,600 before the $400 deadline on Feb. 22 and encouraged everyone to keep fundraising until DM’s final moments.

Dancers also watched two celebrity videos, including “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” director Jake Szymanski (Communication ’04) and “Hamilton” actress Renée Elise Goldsberry.

I’m here to tell you to keep grooving,” Goldberry said. “I’m here to tell you to keep doing all you’re doing for those with Down syndrome. Keep supporting GiGi’s Playhouse and remember that all of us around the world are so inspired by you.”

Email: jonahdylan2020@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @thejonahdylan

Email: catherinekim2020@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @ck_525

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