On the heels of another line dance, the spotlight shifted from the synchronized dancers on the floor to the stage as kids dressed to the nines to strut their stuff.
Entering the world — literally — each child went through a cut-out arch of the Earth, escorts by their sides.
Ashlyn and Evan Brysiak took the stage first, rushing through a wide banner that read “Fly Eagles Fly.” Evan was unable to break the paper as he ran through, but that didn't stop roars of cheers from the crowd. The pair wore Philadelphia Eagles jerseys.
Next came Angelica Zander, McKenna Voss and Daniel Testa. Testa came onto the stage wearing a white headband and blue Philadelphia 76ers basketball jersey with his escorts.
The Bryce Jordan Center went back in time when Mina Horan came on stage, dressed as Pebbles from the cartoon The Flintstones. Her escorts wearing leopard skin cavemen dresses lifting Horan onto her shoulders. From that height, she waved and shouted “We Are” into the microphone four times before making her exit.
Carly Wilfong wore a green tutu and Elijah Schultz, who wants to be a police officer when older, came onto the stage wearing a rubber cow mask.
The crowd erupted when lacrosse defender Natalie Biancone took the stage next. Biancone turned her back the stage so all could see a purple cape that said “Cancer Free.”
Connor Rowan dabbed as he crossed the arch and Ashley Fazekas strutted in to the beat of “Can’t Stop This Feeling” by Justin Timberlake. Rockne Smith flung his hands in the air, pumping up the crowd.
Purple princess Devin Pulaski hugged her escort and blew a kiss to stage. Though dressed in black, Emile Robison’s silver necklaces and bouncing curls added a degree of cuteness.
Tough yet charming starting quarterback A’niah Butler completed a front handstand that fell into a split.
Sporting a pair of wings and yellow and black attire, Kately Bernard flapped her wings like a bee.
The whole crowd was involved when Jane Wasser took a selfie with everyone. Ryan Arevalo oozed confidence as he came onto the stage, hands tucked into his pockets.
Gasps of concerns spilled from all when Dylan Keister slipped after various dance moves, but once he recovered, cheers encouraged the boy in a red hoodie.
Nostalgic smiles formed when Taiven Schophf scored a touchdown and swung an imaginary bat as former Penn State football quarterback Trace McSorley was known to do.
Echoing a Spiderman theme on a set of signs on the crowd, AJ Bobby walked in wearing a Spiderman onesie. His entourage popped confetti and sprayed silly string at one another.
Morgan Smith, Aubrey Evans and Shiloh Crimmel had quieter performances, but Evans’ small glance over her shoulder back toward the dancers hinted at a longing to stay in the spotlight.
A mock fight broke out on stage during another kid’s performance and the second to last girl confidently strut, spun and raised L-shaped fingers to complete her escorts’ similar shapes to form the triangle symbolic of Penn State THON.
Last but not least, Landon Knepp brought out all the stops as he performed a long dance with his escorts. His dance consisted of side steps, stomps and leg kicks.
“I thought it was very emotional. It was beautiful to see, and I got tears in my eyes honestly,” Anne Baulik (junior-biology) said. “I think it means everything to [the kids]. This is probably the best day of the year for them.”