First ever Zumba-THON deemed a huge success

Penn State Worthington Scranton's first-ever ZUMBA-THON raised over $900 and brought together more than 100 students, alumni, faculty, staff, and community members to raise money for this year's THON.

The two-hour event, the first of its kind held at Worthington Scranton, was billed as a mini-dance marathon centered on the new and popular exercise, ZUMBA. Everyone who attended, was asked for a minimum $5 donation, with all proceeds benefitting THON. The PSWS Alumni Society and Blue and White Society also donated several Penn State themed baskets and gifts as raffle prizes, so that additional money raised by selling raffle tickets.

Four area ZUMBA instructors -- Sandy Depoti, Michelle Kelsch, Taryn Turissini, and Karey Walker volunteered their time and expertise, leading participants through four, half-hour sessions. Many in the crowd stayed to participate in all four sessions, enjoying the variety of music, moves, and method.

The idea was the brain child of recent Worthington Scranton graduate and alumna, Andrea Summa. During an alumni society meeting a few months ago, she suggested that the group consider doing something to actively support THON, a fundraiser that is very close to her heart.

"Ten minutes later, we had brainstormed our way to this event," she said. "I was so proud to be involved in THON as a student and I can't be more excited to be able to share my enthusiasm with the alumni and help in coordinating this event."

The event attracted the attention of local press, with a feature article in The Scranton Times-Tribune, and a live television appearance by Ms. Summa and Peggy Opalka, a student organizer, on the local talk show Northeast PA Live.

Josh McAuliffe, a Penn State alum and reporter at The Scranton Times-Tribune attended the event as a featured, local celebrity dancer.  The Nittany Lion and Santa Claus even made a special appearance and took part in the dance sessions.

Since its beginning in 1973, THON's presence in the Penn State community has grown exponentially. THON now has over 15,000 student volunteers, 700 dancers, and has raised more than $78 million, benefiting The Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital. THON is now a year-long effort that raises funds and awareness for the fight against pediatric cancer.