Urbana High’s Mini-THON Revives Old Tradition: Professor Urbana


All Professor Urbana contestants lined up before the winner was announced; from left to right: Mr. Cresta, Ms. Hackett, Mr. Grover, Mr. Frush, Ms. Yinger, Mr. Allen, and Mr. Ayerdiz.

Anna Rigg

Last Wednesday night, Urbana High School’s Mini-THON program put on Professor Urbana. Mini-THON is a club with ties to the Four Diamonds organization as well as Penn State’s THON. The club works all year to raise money for pediatric cancer then puts on the Mini-THON event, where students who have signed up stand for several hours to celebrate their hard work all year in raising money. At the end of the event, the total amount of money raised that year is announced.

Professor Urbana was put on for the first time about five years ago, and Mr. Cosby won the title. He came back this year to crown the 2020 Professor Urbana winner, Mr. Frush. This year’s contestants were Mr. Cresta, Ms. Hackett, Mr. Grover, Mr. Frush, Ms. Yinger, Mr. Allen, and Mr. Ayerdiz; the emcee’s for the evening were students affiliated with the Mini-THON club: Hannah McCabe, Megan Mulligan, and Isabel Perera. The emcees did a great job during the event making jokes and keeping the audience engaged. Frequently, after a contestant would finish a performance, they would warmly congratulate them on how they did. Mulligan even said she “shed tears as Mr. Frush sang his song.”

Professor Urbana began with the “Strut Your Stuff” Fashion Runway Entrance, where each contestant was introduced and walked the stage wearing fun costumes. Each contestant came out very creatively in their outfits. Ms. Hackett wore a wedding dress and dropped flowers, and Mr. Frush entered for the side door of the auditorium on a Razor Scooter with a UHS cape flying behind him. After their extravagant entrances, a video played explaining Mini-THON’s goal and showing where the proceeds go to. Featured in the video were some patients that had their treatments paid for by the money that Four Diamonds, with the help of THON and Mini-THON, raises every year. Then the video showed the actual Mini-THON event at many different schools, which is, simply put, a dance party that goes on for several hours.

The other categories that the contestants had to compete in included: a costume contest, special talent, a segment where a student escorted the teacher on stage then delivered a small speech about how that teacher had impacted their lives, and a question and answer portion. These competitions gave the teachers the opportunity to convince the judges–two student judges, Maddie Cooper and Grant Lieberman, and two faculty judges, Dr. Kehne and Ms. Hashemzadeh–why they should be Professor Urbana. The student escort section was very heart-warming, especially when Ms. Yinger and her escort, Hannah McCabe, shared a sweet hug on stage before McCabe began her speech on how motherly Ms. Yinger has been to her and to all her students.

At the end of the event, before the winner was announced, the president of the UHS Mini-THON club took the mic to say a few words. He began with many thank-yous to everyone who made the event possible, and then to the contestants, “A huge thank you to all of our contestants and their teams tonight. For putting in all the time, effort, commitment and dedication to make this happen and to raise what we did tonight.” Mini-THON raised over a thousand dollars at the event.