Weekend of Dancing For the Kids!


Penn State Students dance at the annual dance marathon to raise money for pediatric cancer. The first ever Happy Valley Mini-THON happened on Friday, April 20, 2018. The theme for this year was “Today’s Fight, Tomorrow’s Future.” Carrie Little the executive director and senior here at State High said, “Because I’ve been doing this for so long, I have a really deep connection to the work we’re doing and am so passionate about doing everything For The Kids (FTK)!”

Emmie McDonald, Staff Writer

Every year the Bryce Jordan Center lights up in a multi-colored array, and the tradition of THON that started in 1973 begins once again. Today, it is the largest student-run philanthropy event in the world, by involvement and revenue. This past weekend from February 16-18, seven hundred or more Penn State students stayed standing and dancing for forty-six hours. Big parts of the dance marathon included the line dance, speakers and stage acts, the talent show, athlete hour/pep rally and the final four hours.

The line dance is a five minute stretching routine that is played every hour to encourage the dancers to stretch and move. Speakers and stage acts in the past have featured bands, dance groups, also inspirational speakers including football coach James Franklin as well as others. The talent show is an opportunity for the four diamonds children to share their talents in front of everyone supporting them. The pep rally and athlete is hour is when the kids get to spend time with the Penn State athletes as they compete and perform. Finally the final four hours are a special time where families share their stories, as well as the total money raised is announced

People who live in State College have always had THON to be a part of, but here at State High there is Mini-Thon. Carrie Little, Happy Valley Mini-THON Executive Director, said, “All of our donations go to Four Diamonds to help support families affected by pediatric cancer. We do not work directly with anyone from THON or PSU, but we do have a Four Diamonds liaison assigned to our school. She gives us ideas that worked for other schools’ Mini-THONs, as well as answer any questions we have about Four Diamonds or Mini-THON.

However, Mini-Thon didn’t start out of thin air Little said, “On Saturday, February 17 some of our leadership team attended a Mini-THON outreach event that the THON Communications Committee hosted. Here we were able to talk with THON committee members and students from Mini-THONs across the state.”

Happy Valley Mini-Thon is not just confined to State High, it also takes place in the State College middle schools. Little recounted the middle school Mini-Thons as she said, “I remember going to THON when I was really young and loving the energy. When I was in middle school, I didn’t know we even had a Mini-THON until someone told me to join that AREA (last period of the day back then) to get involved in 7th grade. For the past six years, I’ve been a Dancer, Captain, and the first Alumni Overall for the State College Mini-THON that was held at Park Forest Middle School.” She was unhappy that through her love of this program it wasn’t available as she moved up to the high school. Little recalled this and how she changed it, “Unfortunately, this event ended at the middle school, and I knew we couldn’t just let it stop. So, now in my senior year at State High, I am the Executive Director of the brand new Happy Valley Mini-THON.”