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Hinsdale District 86 24-hour relay brings cool weather, fun time

The sun kept the track and Hinsdale Central and Hinsdale South High Schools students warm during the day as they walked laps to raise money for school activities from Saturday to Sunday morning. | Jon Langham/For Sun-Times Media  5/17/14
Holding up a sign with her team's name on it so they get credit, Maggie Bieber carries a large Black Hawks flag as she walks around the track.  | Jon Langham/For Sun-Times Media
Hinsdale Central seniors Mark Sweeney and Benjamin Norton claimed the bean bag championship after defeating four other teams. When not walking laps, students danced, talked and played games to pass the time in the 24-hour Relay Challenge.  | Jon Langham/For Sun-Times Media
Hinsdale Central senior and professional disc jockey Andrew Mallek has donated his services four years running to the 24-hour Relay Challenge. | Jon Langham/For Sun-Times Media
Students from Hinsdale Central and Hinsdale South High Schools play "Name that Song" under the disc jockey tent at the 24-hour Relay Challenge from Saturday morning to Sunday morning outside Central. | Jon Langham/For Sun-Times Media
Relay teams set up tents on the football field as members walked around the track or participated in games and activities. Overnight temperatures dipped into the 40s May 17-18.  | Jon Langham/For Sun-Times Media

About 325 students from Hinsdale Central and Hinsdale South high schools participated in a 24-hour Relay Challenge this weekend.

“The relay went great,” said April Tatro, a family and consumer science teacher from Central and co-sponsor of the event.

The students registered in teams of six to 12, with each person pledging to collect at least $55 in donations. The event raises money that helps District 86 students in need afford to participate in after-school activities, clubs and summer school.

Teams were asked to have at least one representative walking laps around the track from 10 a.m. Saturday to 10 a.m. Sunday. But because of the cold temperatures at night and early Sunday morning, the teachers checked the participants out early, about 8 a.m.

“Once the sun starts coming up and we serve breakfast, the kids realize how tired they are and ready to go home,” Tatro said.

Nadia Mohideen, a freshman from Clarendon Hills, said she walked 30 laps, which equals 7.5 miles. Her team as a whole walked 71 laps.

The sun during the day kept the students warm enough.

“We even had to pass out the sunscreen the Dermatology Institute donated,” Tatro said. “We served coffee, hot chocolate and pizza throughout the night to help keep the students and chaperones warm.”

The organizers had reminded the students to dress warm and bring extra blankets. It dropped to about 44 degrees during the night. If it had fallen below 40, they would have relocated to the fieldhouse, Tatro said.

“I was more than warm enough because I had a long sleeved shirt, two sweatshirts, two pants and a winter coat, just in case,” Mohideen said.

Finding tents to sleep in was more difficult, Mohideen said, because neither she nor her friends go camping.

She also learned, “setting up a tent is a lot harder than it looks.”

Live bands, a disc jockey, impromptu football and soccer games, a “Name that Tune” game, and creative laps, such as going piggyback, kept the students energized and enthusiastic.

“My favorite part was probably the karaoke because the judges made it really fun, and the singers were either amazing or funny,” Mohideen said. “All my friends and I enjoyed it, and we will definitely be doing it next year.”

Tatro has co-sponsored the event three years in a row. Her favorite part is seeing Central and South students teaming up for a good cause and interacting together. Usually, the two schools are rivals, she said.

Smith liked dinnertime, when she and other leaders had time to chat with students, parents and other volunteers that helped cook and serve dinner.

“It was also the time the other sponsor and myself had our families visit,” Smith said. “We spend a lot of time and energy getting ready for the event, but to see our families there supporting us and having a good time helps make it all worth it.”

Proceeds from the relay also are donated to local charities, such as Seed of Hope Foundation, the Port Ministries and the Hinsdale Community House.

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