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Onward State Gives Thanks 2019

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Onward State! Aside from you readers, here is what our staff is thankful for this year.

Aboudi Rai

I am thankful for Ohio State football. Yes, I’m a die-hard Penn State football fan. No, I‘m not a traitor for saying this, and here’s why. In football, or in anything in life for that matter, failure is crucial and inevitable along the journey to success. It’s the bitter taste of failure that best fuels the motivation towards sweet victory.

If the Buckeyes did not play football at the level they do, a win against them would be meaningless. The bliss of a rivalry upset would not be possible. Back in 2016, Ohio State football taught us that hard work, determination, and mental toughness all pays off. Last Saturday, Ohio State football exposed our weaknesses, and demolished out College Football Playoff chances. Now, we get back up, dust ourselves off, and get back to work. Just like you, I hate Ohio State; but, I couldn’t wish for a better rival — even if the Buckeyes or James Franklin won’t admit it.

Alexandra Ramos

As a senior at Penn State, there’s a lot I have to be thankful for. I’m thankful for the friends that I’ve made that have gotten me through my classes and my four years, as well as the ones I’ve made just for fun. I’m thankful for the never-ending support system that I have with my family back home, and how they have always cheered me on until the very end. I’m thankful for my boyfriend, who has been there for me since day one of college, and who continues to be there for me. I’m thankful for the times in Beaver Stadium, and the chicken baskets that always followed, and for the wins (and losses) we shared as one team. I’m thankful for Penn State in general, and I don’t know what I would have done without it.

Oh, and I’m also thankful for Big Ass Thursdays from Gumby’s. Never has a deal fueled me through finals season better than that.

Alysa Rubin

I’m thankful for a lot of things this year. My amazingly supportive family and friends are what come to mind first, but there’s a few other things I want to highlight. I’m thankful for the sixth floor of Martin Hall and all of the crazy memories we’ve made. I’m thankful for Philly sports and Penn State football, even when they make me want to cry. I’m thankful for the Monkey Business ice cream at the Creamery. I’m thankful for Canon and its cameras. Mostly, I’m thankful that I get to be at my dream school doing what I love most, and I’m so grateful to Onward State for helping to make my first few months of school as incredible as they were.

Amanda Thieu

I’m extremely thankful for my loved ones, both here at Penn State and at home. I’m thankful for the love and support they give me when I need it the most. Without them I wouldn’t be able to accomplish what I have today. I’m also grateful for Disney+ and honey-glazed ham.

Andrew Woodman

I’m thankful for Famous Ernie’s Steaks because it’s hard to get a decent cheesesteak outside of Philly

Andy Mollenauer

I’m thankful for Irving’s because it’s become my study space and is where I’m most productive when I’m working on schoolwork. I have a deep appreciation for the comfort and quality service as well as the space’s ample room for spreading out and spending sometimes the entire day getting things done.

Anthony Colucci

This holiday season is perfect for recalling all the things from the past year that have brought me joy. I’m thankful for my secret study spot, Fist Pump God Anthony Cassar, Ice God Jake Zembiec, the epic James Franklin x Jonas Brothers picture (which makes a great lockscreen), McLanahan’s Happy Hour, Jim Davidson playing Spice Adams clips at 2 a.m., and the pleasant surprise of the Institutional Review Board approving the procedure for my thesis in less than a week.

As a senior, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how grateful I am for Onward State. This organization has given me the best four years I could ask for, a crazy amount of opportunities, and some of the best people I’ve ever met. Thanks for the road trips to have our hearts broken, late-night editing sessions, and all the ways you’ve shaped me along the way. And to our readers: Thanks for reading, sending me your death threats and projected future wrestling lineups, and keeping me sharp when I carelessly misspell weight as “wait.”

Anthony Fiset

Stuffing. I am thankful for stuffing. I am not thankful that stuffing, the most superior Thanksgiving dish, is the only one that is not commonly served in American cuisine. So you’re telling me I can get a side of mashed potatoes or green beans with my Popeye’s chicken sandwich, but I can’t get a side of stuffing? This is why fights keep breaking out in your establishment.

I am also not thankful for my mom telling me that it is “unacceptable” to eat only stuffing for breakfast, lunch, and dinner because I “need to have a healthy, balanced diet.” Whatever, mom.

Ava Brendgord

I am extremely thankful for my family, and that they agreed to send me to the greatest school in the world. I am grateful for the incredible people I have met during my first semester in college and my besties back home in Houston. Also, I am eternally grateful that I will be eating my Nana’s incredible food all Thanksgiving break and not the bagels from the dining hall.

Cassady Potts

This year, I’m really thankful for all the friends I’ve made at Penn State. Thank you for jump-starting my car in the freezing cold, forcing me to go to the doctor when I was really sick, and cooking dinner so I finally eat a meal that’s not from a box. I’m also thankful for my parents because they always pick up the phone (even if I just called 5 minutes ago). Lastly, I’m thankful for Annie’s white cheddar mac & cheese for keeping me alive and making up about 90% of my diet.

Cece McCarthy

I am thankful for Penn State and all that it gives me. From a new family to school pride I never thought I could feel so deeply, this school feels like a second home and I’ve never had a day where I wasn’t happy to be here. I am also thankful for my family, my friends at home, and the beach. And this year I am especially thankful for caffeine.

Colleen Nersten

As an astute ~Christian gal~, I am thankful for what I like to call The Penn State Holy Trinity: Joe, Kevin, and Nick Jonas.

Dana Nunemacher

I am thankful for my family: my parents, my brother, my loving grandparents, wonderful aunts, awesome uncles, and my cousins, who have ONLY been good influences on me. I am thankful for my friends who are here in State College and also out in other places on their own adventures. Onward State, the very blog itself, I am BEYOND thankful for you. You make Sunday afternoons worth it. The adventures I have had this semester (chatting with Sam Ficken, making Monsters Inc. costumes, testing out microwavable mashed potatoes for Friendsgiving) excite me for the future. Finally, on this very fine day of thanks and giving, I am thankful for those cows out in the Dairy Barns working hard to make me ice cream. Keep up the moo-tastic work!

Emma Dieter

I’m thankful for Harry Styles and his iconic hit single “Lights Up.” Thank you Harry, and also, please notice me.

Erin Sullivan

This year, I’d like to display my endless gratitude for my parents and two wonderful older brothers Patrick and Daniel, as well as my friends from school and home. I’m also thankful for the lovely blog for giving me the opportunity to photograph things I would never otherwise get the chance to, the atmosphere of a primetime White Out in Beaver Stadium, my beloved camera, the firing of Pirates general manager Neal Huntington, Sidney Crosby, Larry David, Cael Sanderson, Pittsburgh’s Liberty Tunnel, and the Jordan 1 silhouette.

Frank Scaramuzzo

There are many parts of my life that I am thankful for, but I am most thankful for my support network of friends here at school. The friends I’ve made while being here are some of the most genuine, caring, and intelligent people I’ve had the privilege of meeting! From impromptu apartment movie-watching parties to adventures down State College’s various streets and alleys, my friends have been there laughing and riffing with me every step of the way. I am grateful for these people with all their personalities and senses of humor. Surrounding yourself with positive people will not only give you loyal friends but countless memories to fondly reminisce upon. Surround yourself with good people today!

Gabe Angieri

I am thankful for my parents for always being there for me and giving me the best life they can. Also, my brothers Anthony and Andrew for always being there to make fun of me and to tell me how stupid I am. I am thankful for my girlfriend because if I didn’t put her on here I’d get yelled at. Lastly, I am thankful for the Jets, Mets, and Knicks for making sure I can never experience more disappointment than the disappointment I feel every year watching those three disgraces of a franchise.

George Liu

I’m thankful for my parents’ support along the way. My mother gave up her job to take care of me here in the U.S., and my father works extra hard to support us financially. After 4 and a half years here in America, I’ve moved on to college, my parents have completed their “mission,” kind of… I’m still a dumb kid for them, and they’re right!

Regardless, it’s time for me to pay them back and show them all the effort they put on me won’t be wasted. I’m also thankful for the Onward State family for giving me the opportunity to explore the Penn State experience I would otherwise never get the chance to.

Grace Cunningham

I am forever thankful for Applebee’s Chicken Wonton Tacos, Creamery chocolate milk, and the fact that Drake & Josh is on Hulu. I’m also thankful for my friends and family back at home, and for my friends here at my home away from home, who support me in all my endeavors. Also, my dogs (love you Teddy and Yogi) and this wonderful blog.

Hope Damato

I am thankful for my mom, dad, and sisters Grace and Olivia for putting up with my 500 texts in the family group chat a day, ranting about who knows what. Thank you for raising me into a Penn State family. You’re welcome for the loans. More importantly, I’m thankful for the Lady Lions for giving me something to do on Sundays, Penn State football for causing me heartbreak that no one else can, and for campus Starbucks for not accepting rewards so I don’t buy coffee every day. Thank you Champs for letting me sit behind your dumpster so I could stalk the Jonas Brothers. Shoutout to my girls Ryen, Mackenzie, Riley and Rory for letting me live with you guys next year. Gill Street better get ready.

Jared Raggi

This year, I’m especially thankful for the Pittsburgh Steelers trading to acquire Minkah Fitzpatrick. I’m thankful for Penn State basketball for getting me to buy into a team that will ultimately rip my heart out in late February November. Also, shout out to Jen, Mike, and Jason Raggi. I wouldn’t be able to do life without them. They’ve helped me reach the point I’m at today, attending the best university on the planet.

Jared Raskin

I’m thankful for my family, friends, and all the opportunities that Penn State has provided me so far. I’m also thankful to be from Florida because I truly cannot imagine staying in the unbearable winter over holiday breaks. This is my third winter in Happy Valley, and every time it snows it makes me more upset than when Dwyane Wade retired. On that note, I’m actually just thankful for everything that’s hot, warm, and/or sometimes disgusting. This includes West cookies, unrenovated dorm bathrooms, and the CATA Bus at 8 a.m. in January.

Jarod Kutz

I am extremely thankful to be able to go to school at the Pennsylvania State University. The opportunities that I receive on a daily basis are incredible, and I would not be able to get this experience anywhere else. I am thankful for the people that are here with me at school and the people that support everything I do while I am here. Lastly, I am thankful for James Franklin and the Penn State football program. Saturdays in Beaver Stadium bring memories that will last forever.

Jim Davidson

I’m grateful for good friends, loving family, health, this blog, Zeno’s, Penn State women’s soccer, Hammond, Fiddlehead, and Coors Light. Happy Thanksgiving.

Katie Moats

This year I’m most thankful for Irving’s bagels, without which I most surely would have starved months ago because cooking is not one of my strong suits, Penn State women’s soccer, and Penn State football. I don’t know a lot (anything) about soccer, but I loved going to the games this year and bought a whole shirt for it. I also ran all over campus trying to find my hero, Ali Krieger, the two times she’s come (so far) this year. As for football, no matter how many tears I shed for another year of squandered playoff hopes and how many times I curse James Franklin’s name, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be on Saturdays cracking open a cold one for the LawnBoyz.

Lauren Wysseier

This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for many things. I’m feeling blessed that I got the opportunity to travel home to Florida to spend some time with my family, reunite with my best friends and doggo, and get a much-needed break from the cold weather. I’m so thankful that I’ve been able to join the Onward State family during my first semester of college in Happy Valley. If you told me a year ago that I would be a part of such a special organization, I genuinely wouldn’t believe you. Oh, annnd one last thing… I’m thankful for all the food I’m going to eat over break. Hello, Freshman 15.

Lily Whitmoyer

I’m thankful for my supportive and loving family. I’m also thankful for my friends from home and the new friends I’ve met at Penn State. I’m especially thankful for my roommate, who keeps me laughing way past our bedtimes. Finally, I’m thankful for Nikon for producing good quality (albeit terribly expensive) camera equipment, so I can take pictures for this great blog.

Mackenzie Cullen

As always, I’m thankful for my amazing family, friends, and another year of good health and blessings. This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for the existence of Irving’s and for being the place where I spend the majority of my money, the blessing of the Jonas Brothers’ presence back in September (specifically Nick Jonas, who is also the best), this year’s White Out so I actually know what it’s like to leave Beaver Stadium happy after a big win, Gill Street next year, John Mulaney Netflix specials, no classes before 10 a.m., the ~lovely~ people on Onward State, declaring my major after what felt like forever and most importantly, finally finding my place at Penn State (after what also felt like forever).

Matt DiSanto

As always, I’m incredibly thankful for my family, the opportunities I’ve received, and another year of health and blessings. I’m also thankful for my brother, Andrew, who recently began his college career at the University of Virginia and has been kicking absolute butt down there. Our weekly phone calls keep me in check and remind me that I do, in fact, begrudgingly miss my little brother. His roommate is an Ohio State fan, but I’m willing to look past that. I’m also thankful to have the greatest group of friends in the world. These guys (and gals) are what makes Penn State special. Know who I’m not thankful for? The 2019 Philadelphia Eagles. Just 75 days until pitchers and catchers report, baby.

Matt Noah

I am thankful for the friends and family that have supported me throughout my life. After spending 13 weeks at Penn State it feels overdue for a visit back home. I love Penn State, and my first semester has been awesome, but my family has been there for me through it all. They even drove 14 hours round trip to visit me on family weekend. I can’t wait to sleep in my own bed and have a home cooked meal.

Matt Ogden

I am thankful for my family and friends that visit me at school, but strictly for always bringing me Wawa peach tea to stock my fridge with. It’s been a hectic semester and I have been unable to go home myself and replenish, but I can always count on those who are coming to Penn State from the Philly area to pick up peach tea for me so I may never grow thirsty.

Matt Paolizzi

I’m thankful for my friends, my family, John Bonham’s drumming on “Fool in the Rain,” Ben Simmons learning how to shoot a basketball, and for St. Martin Scorsese, who has blessed us this fine Thanksgiving day with three and a half hours of Pacino, De Niro, Keitel, and Pesci all on the same screen. Salute!

Matthew Sniegowski

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my loving family, friends, girlfriend, Onward State, and all the amazing opportunities I’ve had in life. Mom, I’m so proud of you for finishing up your degree. Dad, I don’t think I could put in to words how much I look up to you. Meaghan, you inspire your kids every day and help them develop into amazing young adults. Madi, you are my home no matter how distant we may be. OS, you guys have enabled me to follow a passion of mine and given me so many lasting friends and memories. I love you all so very much and extremely thankful for every one of you.

Also the Midnight Meat Train starring Bradley Cooper.
“Please, step away from the meat.”
Love y’all <3

Max Tolson

This year, I am thankful for my friends and family most of all. No matter what happens, the people close to me will always be the most important. I would also like to give thanks to all the Pennsylvania teams that I root for. They have taught me to never expect anything — except Penn State wrestling (Editor’s note: This was written before Friday). Last but not least I would like to thank tequila because tequila is awesome.

Michael Tauriello

I’m thankful for art. As I’m writing this, I’m thinking about all the times where I’ve been filled with various thoughts but little to no words to express them. That’s where art always seems to come in. I manage to find a song that just sounds like how I feel, or maybe I think of an idea for a new photography project that somehow emulates how I feel. But above all, I am thankful for all of my friends and family who make my world a million times better!

Mikey Mandarino

This year, I’m feeling particularly thankful for good health. I had a scare and thought I had a serious illness at one point during this fall semester, and I did a ton of thinking while I was sick. Thankfully, I was back to full health within a week, but that scare made me realize just how lucky I am to be healthy enough to live the active, healthy, and happy lifestyle I enjoy every day. There are tons of people who don’t get to do the things we might take for granted — including walks to class in freezing temperatures — so I’m thankful that I’m not stuck in bed all day and able to live my life to the fullest.

Mira DiBattiste

This year I’m thankful for a better Penn State football season, my best friends in the Blue Band that turn halftime into me screaming their names, and my friend Kenny for buying every chicken basket I’ve eaten this season. I’m thankful to Onward State for giving me the opportunity to take pictures of a dog for an hour and a half, letting me write about how much I love Jordan Stout’s hair, and more importantly the amazing people I get to work with every day. Finally, I’m thankful for my dogs at home for not forgetting who I am in their old age, and still being excited when I come home. And to my mom, who lets me call her every day. Thanks for letting me rant about my professors and classes you’ve never taken. I love you all.

Noah Rogers

I am thankful for the family I have at home and the family I have at Penn State. I am thankful for my home by the ocean and the opportunities I have had in my life. And I am thankful for ruby grapefruits and avocado toast.

Otis Lyons

I’m thankful for my parents giving me the opportunity to go across the country and be apart of something as cool as Penn State. I am also grateful for everyone who has been telling me how to deal with actual cold weather, because I will be significantly less thankful over the next few months.

Owen Abbey

Where to begin? My freshman year has been a roller coaster of emotions but I want to take time to express my gratitude to a bunch of individuals who have helped me along the way. To my friends Shannon, Hannah, Kirk, Sara, Taylor, and Kristen, thank you for keeping me sane in all of the classes we share. Without you I would probably die of boredom in almost all of those classes. I want to give a special thanks to my floor, who has kept me grounded and become a second family for me. You all have helped me more than you realize, and I appreciate every single one of you. Lastly, I want to thank Penn State basketball, as they have given this freshman a glimmer of hope that next semester may be as good as this one (knock on wood). h (Editor’s note: This was also written before Wednesday.)

Reagan McCarthy

As always, I’m thankful for my supportive family and friends. Particularly, my parents for letting me stay for an extra semester of degenerate activities. I’m also thankful for Jim and Anthony who never say no to Mclans Happy Hour (IYKYK) and Plan Z.

Riley Davies

I am thankful for my family at home and my family at school that Onward State has given me. I am also thankful for Penn State and the stress its athletics give me, the opportunities I have gained from it, and the memories I have made here. I am still however, most thankful for my dogs.

Rory Pelella

I’m thankful for my family and friends, Yallah quesadillas, the Lady Lions’ pregame hype video, the Gill Gals, and the Hammond Building for being a clutch study spot.

Also, a special shoutout to my day ones — Mags and Ann — for constantly being there for me and cooking family dinner every Sunday. I promise I’ll return the favor…eventually.

Ryan Parsons

As always, I’m thankful for all my amazing friends and family this year. But in particular, I’m thankful for my “home away from home” at Penn State. In an environment where it can be easy to feel overwhelmed, lonely, anxious, and scared, the Penn State community and campus are always there to comfort me. From the moment I stepped foot on campus, I knew Penn State felt like home, and for that I am thankful.

Ryen Gailey

This year I am thankful for many things. I’m thankful for my family and their frequent visits to Happy Valley. I’m thankful for my friends, specifically Kylie and Lisa, for texting me back when I have random questions at 3 a.m. I’m thankful for my apartment, despite the gross carpet stains and the Easy-Bake Oven-sized stove, because here we can blast music at all volumes and watch Holiday Baking Championship for hours on end. I’m thankful for my future Gill Street Girls. I’m thankful for Thursday night 70s-themed fifth and a friend and for still making it to my 9 a.m. the next day. Lastly, I feel like Onward State has given me the best opportunities, the best friends, and the best experiences thus far at Penn State – but I suppose we’ll have to wait just another year to finally beat Ohio State.

Samuel Brungo

College is a time where everything is always changing. With schedules and exams, it’s hard to find time for the people who mean something to you. This year, I am thankful for Beer and for Prime-Time football. I have found that the two of those bring people together unlike anything else. It’s important for me to take some time for my people, Prime-Time Football and Beer help create that time. Shoutout to my people. Thanks for being you.

Sarah Baumann

I’m thankful for my family. Since coming to Penn State I have really come to appreciate the moments I get to spend with family because they don’t happen as often as they used to. I’m also extremely thankful for the family I’ve made at Penn State. My friends make my life 100% better.

Shannon Soboslay

This year there is a lot to be thankful for. At the top of that very important list is Wendy’s, Harry Styles, Twitter, and Korean skincare products. On a more sentimental note, I am also thankful for all the amazing people I’ve met at Penn State and how much they have impacted my life. Love you if you’re reading this! Oh, and also the pants my friend Christine sent to get sewn up after she pushed me over while blacked out. They sent them back with the blood still in them and we are so very thankful for that!!

Will Pegler

I’m thankful that I don’t go to Ohio State. Storming the field as 18.5-point favorites? Be better, folks.

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