The red carpet, flashbulbs bursting and karate kicks? While this scene wouldn't be far-fetched at a mid-90's Hollywood premiere for a Steven Seagal or Jean-Claude Van Damme flick, in South Brunswick it's a just a bit more rare. But tonight (Oct. 21) at 7 p.m., this scene will play out at the , as students of the school and their families will be kicking for a good cause as part of the first "Kick-a-Thon."
The fundraiser works much like a walk-a-thon, where students get friends and family to pledge $1 for every kick they perform. The fundraiser serves to raise money for the Olive Osmond Perpetual Hearing Fund, which supports new research and innovation to improve the quality of life for the hearing impaired.
"This year we started a leadership program where we chose eight teenagers who have great qualities morally, and are good students in both martial arts and academics," said center owner Donnalynn Patakos. "We decided to help them learn how to be leaders."
Karate students Michael Lagunovich, Pranita Kumar, Stephanie Kirkpatrick, Sanam Kakkad, Todd Benkovicz, Sam Sankaralingam, Brendan McCann and Brandon Yu, along with help from students Bhamini Mehta and Debbie Wang, put together the event with guidance from the center staff.
"Along the way our students have gone to local businesses for donations and pledges and have gotten other people involved," Patakos said. "All of the proceeds will end up at The New Jersey School of the Deaf, so the funds will help the hearing impaired in our state. It's a job well done by all the kids."
The event will also feature a red carpet entrance complete with interviews by celebrity interviewer Chance Speissbach of ChanceTV. The "Kick-a-Thon, which is open to the public, will also feature a tricky tray in addition to pledges for numerous prizes, including a 21-speed bicycle, gift certificates to Pizza Delizia, the Cheesecake Factory, Longhorn Steakhouse, Buffalo Wild Wings, La Jolie Hair Salon, Brothers Jewelers and BMW of Princeton.
But of course, the main feature of the night will be kicks. A whole lot of kicks.
"For every dollar pledged there will be one kick performed. We had one person come in with an envelope filled with $1,500, so I said you better bring your whole family to help with that one," Patakos said. "It's really going to be a fun evening for everyone. We're going to have tons of prizes and raise money for a good cause. It also develops a sense of community by doing something good and bringing everyone together."
Beyond raising money for a good cause, Patakos said the ultimate goal of the "Kick-a-Thon" is to help these young teens strive to be the best students and people they possibly can be.
"Academics is obviously important, but part of leadership is learning how to start something and to follow through on it from beginning to end," she said. "We want to develop a network of leaders who do the right thing. Part of that is encouraging a philosophic endeavor and getting outside of themselves to think of others."