Local

Thon has been a lifelong pursuit for hospitality director

The Keim's Thon Family Carnival

Alison Keim is a 10-year-old cancer survivor and Thon child. Keim and her participate in events like Thon Family Carnival at Penn State.
Up Next
Alison Keim is a 10-year-old cancer survivor and Thon child. Keim and her participate in events like Thon Family Carnival at Penn State.

If you’re a student on Thon’s dance floor, chances are you’ll owe a debt of gratitude to Michelle Warner and her team before the weekend is over.

Snacks and beverages are pretty much the lifeblood of any self-respecting dance marathon and as the hospitality director, the burden of keeping the plasma pumping falls to Warner and her 19 captains.

“I love it. I don’t know what I’m going to do when it’s done,” Warner said.

I love it. I don’t know what I’m going to do when it’s done.

Michelle Warner

Whatever does come next will involve a cap and gown. Warner’s last semester at Penn State has been spent in the service of a second-grade class at Gray’s Woods Elementary, the same hallowed halls where her own backpack strap once hung.

She likes student teaching and— better yet — understands the impact even a part-time presence in the classroom can have on developing young minds. Gray’s Woods is where she was first introduced to Thon, courtesy of yet another Penn State intern with a soft spot for kids in need.

A few years later, Warner would participate in Park Forest Middle School’s first mini Thon.

“It was a taste of giving back to kids who have cancer,” Warner said.

It was a taste of giving back to kids who have cancer.

Michelle Warner

She and a few other Thon leaders recently paid a visit to this year’s mini Thon participants and were moved by the efforts of their younger counterparts.

“Kids being so driven to help other kids is really, really special,” Warner said.

Just because Warner is graduating doesn’t mean that she’s done with Thon. Her burgeoning teaching career will also present plenty of opportunities to make a difference in the life of children.

“With teaching I can try and help kids every single day,” Warner said.

Frank Ready: 814-231-4620, @fjready

  Comments