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Seniors Reflect On Their Last THON As Students

That’s all she wrote, folks.

THON 2024 is in the books, with a record-breaking $16,955,683.63 million raised For The Kids. Now, the annual 46-hour dance marathon has come and gone for those who are graduating this year. The class experienced their first THON in a way like none other during the pandemic, and some of our writers reflected on their last one.

Lizzie Palmieri

THON has always held a special place in my heart. Throughout my time at Penn State, I’ve had the opportunity to be involved as a THON chair, director of a THON musical performance, and member of student media.

This year was the first year I was able to be inside the BJC during the Final Four, and more specifically, Family Hour. I felt honored to hear the stories of Four Diamonds families firsthand and rediscover the meaning of THON right before my time at Penn State comes to a close. I know my last THON is something I will remember forever and carry forward, no matter what the future holds.

Megan Dougherty

Due to COVID-19 and other instances of unfortunate timing, my last THON as a student was also my first. It’s pretty bittersweet to witness all the magic of THON (and the incredibly hard work that goes into it by press and committees alike) just to realize it will be a uniquely singular experience. It’s not every day that so many college students will come together and truly show up for one cause, and that is definitely a sight worth seeing as a Penn Stater. Covering THON 2024 for Onward State was a rollercoaster of emotions. From dancing to WALK THE MOON while attempting to live blog to crying during the Final Four with my fellow staffers on press row, it was an unforgettable weekend.

Haylee Yocum

This year’s THON was absolutely the best one I have experienced so far. I was so lucky to be able to be in the BJC for dancers standing, the national act, Pep Rally, Final Four, and even an overnight shift, and I could not have been more grateful for that opportunity. My involvement with THON has looked slightly different each year, but this year I focused on THON specifically through the lens of Onward State. It’s so amazing to be able to tell the stories of these dancers and to keep everyone who can’t be present in the BJC up to date on everything they might be missing. As a childhood cancer survivor, I hold THON’s mission close to my heart, and it has been absolutely incredible to see the total money raised increase every year. It was certainly a bittersweet weekend, and honestly, I’m trying not to think about it too much, but I cannot wait to continue following along with THON through OS in the years to come.

Rico Gore

Honestly, this is only the second THON I have ever been to. Please don’t kill me, but I’m just not a big THON guy. I don’t hate THON or anything like that, but have just never been crazy about it. So, my feelings after attending my final THON are mainly of relief. I am happy for the cause and supporting kids with cancer, but I am also happy that I never have to eat fries at 2 a.m. in the BJC again. I was ready to finish my shift with Onward State as soon as I got there. Again though, I don’t hate THON at all. I am just happy that I don’t need to attend it again.

Megan Kelby

My last THON was the same as my previous three: long. I’m not the biggest supporter of the culture THON fosters among students, but I do support the cause. In the grand scheme of things, every hour spent listening to a mid-performer was overshadowed by the amount of love and support Family Hour shows each and every year. While I won’t miss the student interaction at THON once I graduate, I will miss the feeling of being there to witness something bigger than any individual in the room.

Sarah Lynn DeCarlo

THON, where do I️ begin? As a volunteer for the past two years, it has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. THON Photography is such a privilege and insane opportunity. Shout out to my committee — you are the best people in the world.

This THON was extra special to me because four of my roommates were dancers. One of my roommates, Alex, is 15 years cancer-free, and she was the reason I️ didn’t sleep and only went home for an hour and a half. Seeing them kill those 46 hours was everything and more.

As a Penn State student, THON is family and THON is home. For The Kids.

Nina Jeffries

Throughout my four years at Penn State, THON has always been near and dear to my heart. When I first started at Penn State-Fayette, it helped me make connections with people while the world was shut down during the pandemic. Plus, THON at Fayette is a cult, so I honestly felt like I had to join. But I don’t regret it at all because it gave me an outlet to make a change in a world that was falling apart.

In last THON, I decided to end it with a bang and do the full 46 hours in the stands of the BJC. Since freshman year, I wanted to dance in THON but never got the opportunity, so instead, I decided to do the 46 to support my dancers and my org, Student PSEA. I was successful and am unfortunately still paying the consequences of my actions, but I am grateful I was able to do it. Throughout the weekend, I was supported by so many people from my current org and old one which made it feel even more special because I got to spend my last THON with everyone important to me.


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About the Author


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