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Alpha Delta Pi held its 11th annual Cheers for Charity competition benefiting the Ronald McDonald House on Wednesday, April 13.

Four sororities and six fraternities competed in the event at The Venue at UCF. In the sorority division, Delta Delta Delta took home first, Kappa Delta took second and Zeta Tau Alpha won third. In the fraternity division, Zeta Beta Tau took first, Phi Delta Theta brought home second and Sigma Nu took third. Kappa Sigma won the overall competition, based on their fundraising and participation throughout the week.

The competition raised over $20,000 for the Ronald McDonald Houses of Orlando.

“The Ronald McDonald House is a home away from home for families with sick kids that live far away from hospitals,” said Karlie Powers, Alpha Delta Pi’s vice president of philanthropy. “It gives families one less thing to worry about while their kids are sick.”

For Wendy Palmisano, a UCF alumna, and her son 14 year old son Sam, the Ronald McDonald House has been a huge part of their lives. Sam was diagnosed with spina bifida and hydrocephalus before he was born, and has had 29 surgeries throughout his life.

“The Ronald McDonald House enables our family to be together while Sam’s in the hospital,” Wendy Palmisano said. “It gave us the opportunity to stay the night and be right next door to the hospital.”

The Palmisanos have been working with Alpha Delta Pi for three years, through Cheers for Charity and Knight-Thon.

“The girls in Alpha Delta Pi have become good friends with Sam,” Palmisano said. “I think it’s amazing that all these young people would come together and take the time to raise money for something that’s bigger than themselves.”

Powers is proud of her sorority’s relationship with the Ronald McDonald House.

“We work really closely with the Ronald McDonald House,” she said. “We make meals for them and spend holidays with them. It’s something that means a lot to us.”

Powers said the fraternities and sororities competing put a lot of time and preparation into their three minute long routines.

“It takes weeks of very long practices. Some people have worked since December to put together a routine,” she said. “That much preparation shows that this is something benefiting a very good cause”

Devin Hludzik, a sister of Delta Delta Delta, the winning sorority, agrees.

“It means a lot for us to win this,” she said. “We put in a lot of effort – lots of late night practices, multiple times a week.”

Willie Miller, a brother of Zeta Beta Tau, the winning fraternity, also emphasizes the effort his fraternity put into winning.

“We wanted to represent ZBT in the best way we know how and execute a great routine,” he said. “We definitely bonded through working hard together. Seeing the hard work pay off made us proud.”

Cheers for Charity also included the crowning of Alpha Delta Pi’s sweethearts, or “Lion Kings”.

Two brothers from Kappa Sigma, Josh Grewal and Seb Rougemont, won for the second year in a row.

“Over the past year, the Ronald McDonald House has grown near to our hearts,” Rougemont said. “We never thought of running for the Lion Kings again, but the charity drove us to participate again.”

Kappa Sigma raised the most money out of all of the fraternities for the Ronald McDonald House.

“Getting to hear the stories of kids like Sam and volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House and talking to the families has been my favorite part,” Grewal said. “It’s easy to get distracted by the craziness of the competition, but seeing the impact of what you’re doing is amazing.”

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Isabelle D'Antonio is a contributing writer for the Central Florida Future. 

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