College of Education > News and Publications > News: Jan. - March 2011 > SPSEA Students Raise the Bar in THON 2011

SPSEA Students Raise the Bar in THON 2011

Student Pennsylvania State Education Association (SPSEA) raises $20,418.99 for the IFC/Panhellenic Dance MaraTHON

 by Nancy Stiger (March 2011)

Pain and discomfort from a bad ankle, broken six years ago,chelsea and dancers.jpgchelsea and dancers.jpg wasn’t enough to make Gabrielle Patterson stop dancing in THON 2011. Patterson, representing the Student Pennsylvania State Education Association (SPSEA) THON committee as a dancer and co-chair, danced through the 46th hour of THON with the help of her personal moraler, friends, and family, despite the difficulty caused by the past injury.

Patterson says, “At the end of THON I knew I did something amazing--something that not many people can say they did. And dancing for THON was definitely an experience that allowed me to learn a lot about myself--that I am strong enough to accomplish anything I set my mind to.”

SPSEA is a preprofessional association dedicated to advancing leadership skills and professional development among future educators across the Commonwealth. The organization earned four dancing spots in THON this year, giving Patterson the opportunity to be joined on the dance floor by Diane Mowery, a senior studying secondary education; Laura Nussbaum, a senior studying elementary and kindergarten education; and Allie Dolinsky, also a senior studying elementary and kindergarten education.

chelsea and dancers.jpgthon family 2.jpgthon family 2.jpgAlthough not every member of SPSEA’ s THON team could dance, all were honored with the achievement of raising $20,418.99--an amount that exceeded their previous year’s total by $890.47.

Patterson says the increase of members actively attending SPSEA THON meetings and canning trips attributed to the increase in fundraising. She also said door-to-door solicitation was key in their efforts.

chelsea and dancers.jpgChelsea Sandone, SPSEA THON co-chair, says there was not only an increase in fundraising this year, but also an increase in communication with their THON family, the Guzmans.

Carmen Guzman, an eight-year-old in remission after her battle over leukemia, and her family speak Spanish as their first language. SPSEA struggled with a language barrier in the past, but this year had member Miryam Lopez translate between the groups. Contact between SPSEA and the Guzmans was frequent this year through visits, cards, and care packages sent from the group.

The Guzman’s also made a visit to THON.dancers with carmen.jpg

Patterson said she had much fun playing with Carmen, noting that she soaked all of the dancers during a water gun fight.

Patterson, a junior studying elementary and childhood development, will be able to participate in SPSEA THON again next year. Sandone, a senior studying secondary education English/communications, will not be able to be on the committee after graduation, but says she cannot wait to donate as an alumna.          

For more information on THON and how to donate, visit www.thon.org.