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Your Best THON Memories Throughout The Years

On Friday night, we asked you to share your best THON memories in honor of THON’s 50th anniversary.

Between run-ins with Devon Werkheiser from Ned’s Declassified to a much-needed snowball fight, THON dancers and participants have memories that will last a lifetime.

Keep reading to hear about the moments Penn Staters will remember forever.

Lesly Moore — Dancing With The Kids

Lesly Moore, a 2016 dancer and lifetime THON-lover, recalls sneaking into the Bryce Jordan Center and managing to get on the floor to dance with the kids.

“To be fair, I was on assignment for COMM 481 capturing photos and audio,” Moore explained.

Matthew Hammel — Being On The Floor

Matthew Hammel was a dancer for Penn State Behrend in 2019.

“[My favorite memory was] being on the floor as a dancer right after I stood up,” he wrote. “I was looking up high for my family and found my mom jumping up and down while holding a huge sunflower sign in honor of my cousin Victoria, who we had just lost to cancer that year.”

Hammel also noted that Heather Grace Thomas led the best line dance in 2016.

Andrew — Sitting

Andrew was a dancer in 2002, and truth be told, sitting down was his favorite THON memory.

“I sort of hallucinated for a few hours. I got into a debate about the 01 Sixers/Lakers (was wearing a Mutombo jersey),” Andrew said. “But after all of it, the amazement, the sorrow, the pain, the pressure, all of it…it just felt amazing to sit the F down.”

Rebecca Balchunas — Meeting Devon Werkheiser From Ned’s Declassified

2015 Dancer Rebecca Balchunas has too many THON memories to count. She’ll never forget the first time she stepped foot in the BJC freshman year. When she danced sophomore year, she met Devon Werkheiser, aka Ned from Ned’s Declassified.

Additionally, sharing the experience with her parents and best friend is a core memory for her.

“Seeing my parents and best friend on the floor and letting them experience what I had put so much work into and what I talked about so much,” Balchunas said.

During her senior year, she was on a Rules & Regulations committee and enjoyed seeing where the dancers stood and the surprise DNCE concert.

Heidi Capetola — Snowball Fight

A 1991 dancer recalls a time when her morale person helped her muster up the strength to finish.

“I was really struggling Sunday morning, and my morale person took me outside the White Building for a snowball “fight” that invigorated me and helped me regroup and move forward,” Capetola said.

Capetola was part of morale in 1990 and 1992. This year, her children Cali and Casey are dancers, and it’s her first time experiencing THON from the BJC. She’s extremely excited!

Marissa Pearson — Joe Jonas Performance

2017 THON dancer Marissa Pearson will never forget when Joe Jonas performed at the BJC. She was a part of Apollo, Penn State Lehigh Valley, and R&R.

“No Friday night headliner will ever be better than Joe Jonas,” Pearson said. “It was so exciting when he came out to perform and went running through the crowd and jumping on top of tables.”

According to Pearson, it was an amazing kickoff.

Katlyn Berry — Fundraising With Lion Line

For those who aren’t familiar with Penn State Lion Line, it’s a calling agency next to campus that is run by student callers calling alumni and various people associated with Penn State.

“It’s incredibly nice because everyone cares so much about THON, and I got to hear so many THON stories and the impact it made,” Berry said. “Also, Mr. Millard would visit us and give us pep-talks when we started to call for funds. Best memories.”

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About the Author

Colleen Nersten

Colleen is a senior biology major from York, Pa, and is one of Onward State's associate editors. She overuses the ~tilde~ and aspires to be no other than the great Guy Fieri. You can find Colleen filling up her gas tank at Rutter’s, the ~superior~ Pennsylvania gas station. Please direct any questions or concerns to [email protected] For the hijinks, always.

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