As the 2012-2013 school year comes to a close, this last week of classes has been a period of reflection for most students. After a tough year last year, coming off of the scandal and media turmoil, this school year has brought about an era of change to the Penn State community.
Every school year brings the opportunity for something new and different to Penn State. From a new head football coach to a Greek life scandal to the girl who tames the squirrels, this year has seen its fair share of roller coaster ups and downs. Here is a list of the top ten people of note for the 2012-2013 school year.
1. Bill O’Brien
After being branded by the Sandusky scandal last year, all eyes were on Penn State as the football season started in September. They told us that we couldn’t do it, that Penn State football was over and the school would never be the same. Bill O’Brien proved everyone wrong. Football finished the season with an 8-4 record and a new motto: One Team.
2. Michael Mauti
His unceasing positive attitude and hard work made him an iconic member of the Penn State community, both on and off the field. Mauti played a pivotal role in reshaping the football team after the scandal last year threatened to end it. And after ending his season early due to injury, he continued to be an inspiration to his teammates and to the rest of Penn State. He is living proof that Penn State will never, ever give up.
3. Courtney Lennartz/Katelyn Mullen
Lennartz served as President of UPUA, while Mullen served as Vice President for the school year. The notable duo were the front runners of last year’s UPUA elections, winning with 43.9% of the vote. UPUA suffered a minor scandal of their own this year which involved two iPads using UPUA discretionary spending.
4. Paige Raque
The Penn State cheerleader survived a five story fall from Calder Commons in October. After being in critical condition for weeks, Raque was able to make it home for Thanksgiving and is expected to make nearly a full recovery. However, the incident also resulted in eight other students being charged with furnishing alcohol to minors and two cheerleaders being subsequently removed from the varsity team.
5. Silas Redd
After the NCAA Sanctions, which granted any current player the opportunity to transfer without penalty, Penn State lost its best tailback after he announced his transfer to USC for the 2012-2013 season. Many students and alumni felt Redd betrayed Penn State. His transfer not only impacted the lineup, but also stirred up quite the controversy.
6. Nick Pantalone
Penn State tragically lost an inspirational member of its community this year to his battle with cancer. As a Four Diamond’s child himself, Nick was a huge part of THON, serving as the 2012 THON Pep Rally Host and positively impacting so many students here at Penn State.
“I don’t want to survive, I want to live.” -Nick Pantalone
7. John Ziegler
The media figure turned documentary filmmaker has taken an interest in Penn State this year creating the website FramingPaterno.com and movie “The Framing of Joe Paterno.” Ziegler also stirred up controversy after his Today Show interview with Matt Lauer that discussed his interview with Jerry Sandusky, opening up some very painful wounds for the Penn State community.
8. The Squirrel Whisperer
What started as Penn State’s hidden gem soon turned into a web sensation. Mary Krupa, a freshman, found a way to tame the squirrels. Penn State is known for the furry and friendly little creatures, but Krupa so far has been the only one able to make them play and wear her handmade hats.
9. Emily Whitehead
THON child Emily Whitehead was the first ever recipient of the experimental CART-19 T-Cell transplant, which resulted in a miraculous recovery. This inspiring story was made possible in large part through the hard work and dedication of The Four Diamonds Fund, THON, and all of its participants.
10. The Chi Omega Girls
One seemingly simple photo of a sorority soon turned into a national controversy this year after the Chi Omega sorority was pictured at a Mexican themed party in which they were wearing costumes and holding signs that many found racially insensitive. This controversy was picked up by national media and resulted in the Chi-O Penn State chapter to be placed on probation.