For most Penn State students attending THON at least once during their time here at University Park is an obligation rather than just a suggestion. For 703 Penn State students this year, they not only fulfilled this obligation but went the extra mile. This year over 700 students didn’t just attend THON, they danced at THON.
For many dancers, attending thon has been a tradition that they have continued since their freshman year. Whether they started out on a committee or part of an org, each dancer was able to find their way out of the stands and on to the floor.
Senior and independent dancer, Katrina Ballerini remembers her first time at THON as freshman. Standing with her four friends looking into the sea of brightly colored tutus and socks, she was committed to having a larger role.
“My friend Kevin leaned over to me and said he wanted to be a dancer. I told him I’d dance with him.” Says Ballerini
Fast-forward three years, Katrina and Kevin are now dancing together at this year’s THON. Unlike her freshman year where she only knew just a few people, as a senior Katrina can now look around the floor and see a bunch of familiar faces ranging from her friends, to old committee members.
As every dancer well knows, soreness and sleep deprivation are part of the experience. While Katrina expected to be pushed to her limits, there were still a few things her freshman year experience didn’t prepare her for.
“I expected the sleepiness and soreness would be tough,” says Ballerini. ” but the environment was everything and more than I expected.”
Katrina doesn’t think anything could have prepared her for her amazing experience dancing at THON, but luckily enough for her, there’s never a shortage of positive energy and smiling faces at the BJC during THON weekend to keep her going.
Representing Arnold Air society, senior Jason Lapri decided to take on the challenge of dancing at THON. Like Katrina, Jason has been attending THON since his freshman year.
“I’m doing it for the service, to do something that’s just bigger than yourself.” Says Lapri
Even though this will be Jason and Katrina’s last THON as Penn State students, they both encourage everyone to dance at least once. Jason says participating in THON gives everyone the opportunity to contribute to a great cause, and can make you feel like a better person.
Valley applauds Katrina, Jason and everyone who took on the challenge of dancing at THON.