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College of Education > News and Publications > News: Jan. - March 2010 > SPSEA Students Welcome "Their Kid" to Successful THON 2010

SPSEA Students Welcome "Their Kid" to Successful THON 2010

Penn State's SPSEA organization had to wait a year to see Carmen Guzman, 7, dancing at the Bryce Jordan Center, but the youngster inspired the group to achieve new heights.

by David Price (February 2010)

Twelve months ago, Carmen Guzman was too ill to be on hand to inspire those who were so inspired by her. She was in the hospital being treated for leukemia. Today, seven-year-old Carmen's leukemia is in remission, and she is the heart that drives the beat of THON 2010 for SPSEA, the Student Pennsylvania State Education Association, at Penn State.

SPSEA is a pre-professional student organization that seeks to advance leadership skills and professional development among Pennsylvania's future educators. The group has been involved with THON for several years, each year growing their dedication and the amount of money they raise. In 2009 SPSEA hit the $15,000 mark, which resulted in the group being awarded slots for four dancers on the THON floor this year.

Katie Margerison, a secondary biology major in the College of Education, is one of the SPSEA dancers. "I grew up and lived a very healthy life and was able to go outside on the playground and play. I think that every kid should have that opportunity, and I hope by me not sleeping for 48 hours that every kid will get that experience of being able to live like a child," she says.
Joining Margerison in the draining quest to keep it moving for forty-six hours were SPSEA's Melissa Fonalledas (elementary education), Lauren Saftlas (secondary English), and Jessica Card (elementary education). The quartet of dancers makes up a group of about twenty SPSEA volunteers for THON 2010.

Not all of them danced, of course, but their support and inspiration were vital to the dancers' success. Among them is Allie Dolinsky (elementary education), who is on the Morale Team. "I've never been affected by cancer, per se," says Allie, "but I've had a lot of family members pass away, and my family has held together and been very strong. To be able to help these families devote themselves to the's such a great cause."

This year, Carmen got to be at THON.

She participated in the energy and enthusiasm of the pulsating Bryce Jordan Center. She walked in the children's fashion show. She got to be a kid. It's a time of joy for Carmen—joy made possible by her strength, her family, the dancers from SPSEA, the people who make THON successful, and the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State's Hershey Medical Center. They do it for Carmen. They do it for the kids.

This year SPSEA raised nearly $19,000, helping THON 2010 set an amazing one-year total raised of more than $7.8 million. Contributions still are being accepted in support of the SPSEA dancers at the THON 2010 Web site.