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Mother-Daughter Duo Dances In THON 31 Years Apart

Things were quite different when Sari Sax danced in THON 31 years ago.

THON was then held in the White Building and had about half as many dancers as the 2019 dance marathon. Additionally, “Panhellenic” wasn’t included in the name of the event, which was just “Penn State Interfraternity Council Dance Marathon” at the time.

More than three decades later, the Sax family is able to draw many parallels from the year Sari danced. Her daughter, Devyn, stepped onto the floor of the Bryce Jordan Center last weekend for the 46-hour no sleeping, no sitting marathon.

Photo: Courtesy of Devyn Sax

Devyn Sax was one of 707 dancers who took the floor this weekend to help raise money for Four Diamonds. Sax, along with her roommate Sarah Jobe, danced independently and raised about $5,000 #FTK throughout the year.

Sax began as a student at Penn State Altoona, and really started getting involved with THON her sophomore year as a committee captain along with Jobe.

“As a captain, we were there for 43 of the 46 hours, which was so tough, but we were like, ‘Okay this is something we want to do when we go up to the main campus,'” Sax said.

She and her roommate were on the R&R committee as juniors and dedicated themselves to dancing independently as seniors. As soon as independent dancer couple applications were released in September, they immediately applied and began fundraising.

Photo: Courtesy of Devyn Sax

Knowing this, Sari’s story might sound pretty familiear. Sari similarly started at a different campus, transferred to University Park as a junior, and independently danced with a roommate that year. She was a Moraler for her senior year.

Devyn remembers growing up, and her mom saying, “‘If you dance, that would just be the craziest thing. It would be so exciting.”

THON has always been a huge part of the Sax family, which is Penn State through and through.

For Sari, returning to the floor and seeing her daughter dance overwhelmed her with emotion. Sari returned to THON for the first time in 31 years wearing her own dancer t-shirt.

“I remember when she had her first pass, because she hasn’t been to a THON since she was on Morale,” Devyn recalled. “She was on the floor and just started crying. She was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is so crazy how much it’s grown since the time I’ve been here.'”

Dancers have family members by their sides throughout the weekend to stay motivated and focused. Devyn was fortunate enough to have that type of push from her mother, who had already been through the same experience she was going through.

“There were obviously really tough points in the weekend when I wanted to stop,” Devyn said. “I knew my mom did it and I knew I was going to finish, but having her there pushing me, talking to me, and keeping me occupied definitely took my mind off the pain.”

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About the Author

Ryen Gailey

Ryen is a sophomore early childhood education major from "right outside of Philly" - or in exact words, from 23.0 miles outside of Philly. She loves all things Penn State and has been a huge Penn State gal since before she could walk. Send her pictures of puppies, or hate mail at [email protected]


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