HORSHAM -- While the 45th annual Keith Valley Challenge looked a bit different this year, its tradition of being a culminating event for the Keith Valley Middle School eighth grade class held a lot of importance after the pandemic.

Normally held in February, students spend hours playing floor hockey to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. This year, the Keith Valley Challenge was held on June 10 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. In addition to floor hockey, students played kickball, volleyball, lawn games and even tennis baseball. About 300 students across twelve teams spread out indoors and outdoors for simultaneous game play.

Before the games began, there was a kick-off assembly held in the auditorium.

“Today is about civic excellence and it’s about doing something for other students and children,” said Principal Jon Kircher in his opening remarks. “While you’re working through today and having fun, keep thinking about why you do this.”

The Keith Valley Challenge is one of the biggest charitable events in the region and to date, has raised more than $1 million for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The proceeds help make the dreams of children, who are battling life-threatening illnesses, come true. Some of those children even include students in the Hatboro-Horsham School District.

The kick-off assembly featured remarks from administrators, state Senator Maria Collett, state Representative Todd Stephens, 6 ABC Reporter TaRhonda Thomas and CEO Dennis Heron of Make-A-Wish Philadelphia, Delaware and Susquehanna Valley. The Gregory Telhorster Keith Valley Lifetime Service Awards were presented to Heron and Keith Valley teacher Jane McGill.

This year, students raised more than $12,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“The success of the Keith Valley Challenge is defined differently this year,” said Assistant Principal John Ewerth. “Instead of focusing on the number of participants and the amount of money raised, it was a success because we were still able to have the challenge at all. We should all be proud of what the 45th year of the Keith Valley Challenge means.”

The Keith Valley Challenge began in 1977 in memory of eighth grade student Billy Whitehead who passed away from a rare congenital heart disease. Following his death, administrators, faculty, staff and students sponsored a floor hockey marathon and pledged to raise money for charity. In 1981, the marathon changed its name to The Keith Valley Challenge. The Make-A-Wish Foundation has been the recipient of the challenge for several years.

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