This morning I attended the first Malaysian East Coast Festival hosted by Penn State. The event was organized to bring Malaysians from around the east coast of the United State to play sports, music, and to socialize. The Malaysian Minister for Youth and Sports Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar even flew around the world to be at the festival for 24 hours. Attendees were excited to meet him, and he smiled for endless selfies after sharing his thoughts and positive energy for the event.
The final hours of the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon are always the most emotional. With family hour after over 40 hours of being on their feet, the dancers are all ears to laugh, cheer, and cry with the families of Four Diamonds children as they share their stories. Tears stream down everyones cheeks as those who have lost their battle are remembered and honored. But the party returns with the hope and joy that one day Penn Staters will dance in celebration of a cure.
Raise the roof, don’t stop, don’t stop
Diamonds, up top, up top
Together, one family
Magic, the BJC
For the dreamers all year long
We Are! Penn State Strong!
The chorus of the line dance filled my ears as I walked onto the floor of the Bryce Joran Center today, less than 24 hours into the 46 hour Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon.
I started out focused on the entertainment crew, piecing together memories from the weekend on the stage, and pumping the beats to keep everyone moving.
Covered in baby powder from the Slides of Strength, silly string in my hair from a laughing Four Diamonds child and squirt gun spots on my shirt didn’t matter, it was fun to be capturing the energy and excitement.
The 46 hour Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon started tonight with over 700 dancers jumping to their feet. After the pre celebration and lots of stretching the dancers were greeted with beach balls, squirt guns and the Four Diamonds families ready to play. They also learned this years line dance, full of pop culture and Penn State facts to keep them moving through the weekend.
I hadn’t even gotten the door closed yet when adorable 4 year old Paula jumped up the stairs to the landing and asked if we could play. She didn’t want me to take photographs, instead I helped her build a lego castle, had to put my camera down to dance with her, and pretended to slurp up a delicious puzzle piece soup, with salt, pepper and chocolate. I snuck a few photos in among the play time and would never have guessed that the giggling ball of energy has battled tumors and has doctors still looking for an exact cause. Paula is a Four Diamonds child who just loves the chance to play with the college kids who have adopted her and her family through Thon. Though her immune system won’t be strong enough to attend the 46 hour dance marathon this weekend, she’ll be dancing at home!
I’ve lived in Pennsylvania my entire life, so am used to cold winters, but wow winter has been brutal. With temperatures way below the average and record lows it’s been hard to emerge from the warmth of blankets. I headed out around the region to see how folks were braving the single digit and negative real feels. Many were bundled up and were limiting time outside, and then I found a few youngsters who didn’t seem to mind at all!
I woke up this morning to a call about a fire in Bellefonte. Bellefonte is comprised of many large historical buildings, that have a bad history of terrible fires. I got to the scene as quick as I could to see crews already had the fire under control and it was contained to a small portion of the three story building. As I chatted with people gathered on the sidewalk I met Tom, and his dog Buster, who was the hero for the day. Buster never gets into bed with Tom, but this morning he jumped up to wake up Tom and alert him of the fire. They both made it out of the building through the thick smoke, and warned another tenant to get out. Way to go Buster!
The fall out from the Sandusky Scandal have been going on for years. With many lawsuits and twists and turns there are always articles and news involving the issue. Today there was a sigh of relief as news came from the NCAA to reverse some of the sanctions they placed on Penn State, including the return of Joe Paterno’s wins.
As I headed to an assignment the temperatures were dropping and it started to drizzle. Soon the alerts started filling my twitter feed as icy conditions covered the county. Portions of the interstate 99 were closed and traffic backed up as crews tried to reach the accidents and slick spots with salt. As I walked towards one of the overpasses with my gear and a safety vest one of the fire cops told me to be cautious on the bridge. As soon as I stepped onto the different surface I slid across the ice. I photographed the scene and shuffled slowly back to my car. The situations where weather professionals and the media suggest folks to stay inside are the ones we still go out in to bring you the news.