Fourteen South Jersey Natives Selected as Dancers for 2021 Penn State THON

By: Michael Mandarino, Follow South Jersey Managing Editor

Photo courtesy of Mira DiBattiste | Onward State

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Fifteen students from South Jersey will participate in Penn State THON — the world’s largest student-run philanthropy’s flagship event — as dancers this weekend.

Every year, students at Penn State University work together to raise millions of dollars for childhood cancer research and awareness as part of THON. This year’s THON weekend will be held virtually beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday, and it will end at 4 p.m. Sunday.

On-campus organizations raise money for the cause throughout the year. Typically, THON culminates with a 46-hour dance marathon in which students don’t sleep or sit for nearly two full days at the Bryce Jordan Center — the on-campus arena that hosts Penn State basketball games and concerts. Organizations ranging from fraternities and sororities to sports teams and special-interest groups solely dedicated to THON participate in the event, and they select at least one dancer to represent the organization at large during THON weekend.

The typical scene at Penn State’s Bryce Jordan Center during THON weekend. This year, however, no such in-person event will be held on campus due to COVID-19 concerns. Photo: Michael Mandarino | Follow South Jersey

The following South Jersey natives were selected as dancers for THON 2021. Their hometown and the organization they’re representing are also listed below:

  • Amanda Laezza (Monroe Township, Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority)
  • Grace Bradley (Sewell, Trilogy)
  • Chloe Schaeffer (Mullica Hill, Penn State cheerleading)
  • Carter Kelly (Linwood, Penn State cheerleading)
  • Jeffrey Brna (Marlton, Alpha Tau Omega fraternity)
  • Natalie DeSouza (Jackson, Trilogy)
  • Sophia Lucidi (Moorestown, Gamma Phi Beta sorority)
  • Ashley Conklin (Medford, women’s lacrosse)
  • Giovanni Riggi (Mickleton, Apollo)
  • Lorna Evans (Hainesport, pre-vet club)
  • Erin McGowan (Brick, Penn State Dance Alliance)
  • Danielle Coscio (Robbinsville, independent dancer couple)
  • Cali Gilmartin (Freehold, independent dancer couple)
  • Allison Dressel (Marlton, CrossFit club)

This year, 592 students were selected to represent their respective organizations as dancers for the event. Instead of dancing at the Bryce Jordan Center, these students will carry out their 46-hour marathons at home as part of THON 2021.

THON has raised more than $180 million for childhood cancer research and awareness since its inception in 1973. Last year, the student-run philanthropy totaled $11,696,942.38 in funds raised.

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