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Mississippi College Dance Marathon Leaders Win Miracle Maker Awards

Mississippi College's Emery Applegate and Shem McConnell served as student co-directors of the university's 2019 Dance Marathon.
Mississippi College's Emery Applegate and Shem McConnell served as student co-directors of the university's 2019 Dance Marathon.

Shem McConnell and Emery Applegate poured their hearts into making the Mississippi College Dance Marathon a phenomenal success. They served as the event’s student co-directors in 2019.

The MC students worked hard for months to benefit the Blair Batson Children’s Hospital at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. And their dedication to this splendid cause is getting noticed.

Hospital supporters on July 20 saluted McConnell and Applegate as recipients of the Miracle Maker Award.

“We are grateful for all that you do to further the Miracle Network Dance Marathon movement, locally in your community and nationally amongst your peers,” said Staci Cross, vice president community operations, Southeast.

The award was the only one given at the recent Dance Marathon Leadership Conference. Officials measured Mississippi College’s major increase in funds raised to benefit Children’s Hospital from one year to the next. The award spans years four to six of the college dance marathon to boost the hospital in Jackson.

Jonathan Ambrose, MC’s associate vice president for the student experience, and dean of students, congratulated the two award winners. Dr. Ambrose has stayed closely involved with the dance marathon since the annual event on the Clinton campus began in 2016.

McConnell, a 2020 Mississippi College graduate, says winning the Miracle Maker Award with co-leader Emery Applegate is an incredible honor.

In addition, it’s “a testament to the hard work of the FLIP class, mentors leadership and Dr. Ambrose,” McConnell said. “However, the award also is a testament to the Dance Marathons that came before us that laid the foundation for what we accomplished.”

The award belongs to every student, faculty member and alumnus who participated in the MC Dance Marathon since the beginning, he believes.

In January 2021, McConnell, an MC marketing and public relations major, will attend graduate school at Georgetown University in Washington. Shem will study public relations and corporate communications. He’s served as an MC Presidential Ambassador.

An MC senior, Applegate, 20, is a marketing major and servant leadership minor. Her future plans are to pursue a career in higher education. The Dance Marathon is a wonderful cause to support, she says. “At Dance Marathon, we are able to celebrate the patients and their families and say how inspiring they are to us.”

Shem McConnell commended the MC senior for a job well done. “Setting this fundraising milestone and winning this award would have been impossible without Emery and her leadership.”

Combining fun with fabulous dance moves the six-hour event at Mississippi College’s Anderson Hall on November 21 raised $71,144.93 for the Children’s Hospital. The 2018 marathon at MC raised nearly $43,000 with $23,312 collected at the Christian university in 2017.

In Fall 2019, MC student leaders stepped up their efforts to assist children and their families at the Jackson hospital. Batson Children’s Hospital treats more than 150,000 children each year in more than 30 specialty areas, including newborn medicine. The hospital staff offers everything from emergency care to specialized heart and cancer services to these young patients. The children come from communities statewide to be treated at the Jackson hospital.

Students promoted the event with photos and videos on the MC Dance Marathon page on Facebook.