Rain rain and more rain canceled some events, but some went on enthusiastically through the puddles and wind. I started the day at the Color Dash to benefit the YMCA as the heaviest rain made the runners drenched and colorful. After the first dry out of the day I ventured around looking for flooding and moving waters. Then to the Grange grounds were the Relay for Life walkers trudged through some mud for the 24 hour event.
I caught myself humming pomp and circumstance yesterday around my house as I got ready for work, so I was glad that today was my last high school graduation of the year. From Grace Prep’s graduation, with a moment of hugs and prayers for each student, to State College in the Bryce Jordan Center and Penns Valley’s outside just beating a storm I tried my best to capture the personalities of the 2015 graduates.
Last week police released a Penn State fraternity is under investigation for having a private page on facebook that included photos of women. Since awareness programs and protests against the rape culture have popped up around campus and town. Today a group gathered at the Allen Street gates and decided to take their chants and signs directly the to front lawn of the frat in question.
It’s been a sad week in the Centre region after an 18 year old firefighter in nearby Clearfield was injured. Buck was on the front lines battling a house fire when the porch collapsed, injuring him and later taking his life. Emergency personnel from across the region and state gathered this afternoon to remember and honor him. Fire trucks were draped with black fabric and lights flashed as the hundred of trucks followed in the procession under an American flag.
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!