State In The Real co-founder Matt Andersen weighs in on the successful undergraduate careers of the Class of 2012:
Dear Class of 2012,
As a founder of State In The Real, I have had the pleasure of meeting many of you. Throughout these last 4 years, my life has been irreversibly changed for the better, and I have my fellow Penn Stater’s, and members of the Class of 2012, to thank for that. Our class has gone through an uncountable amount of highs, and, unfortunately, we saw Penn State at it’s lowest low. Through the good, and the bad, we have always stuck together. We are one group that has always worked as a cohesive unit, we are one group that is about to take the real-world by storm, WE ARE one group that will take the morals, knowledge, and integrity that we have learned at Penn State, and carry that with us wherever we end up after graduation.
We witnessed Joe Paterno’s 400th and 409th wins. We have witnessed a man, who we hold to the utmost regard, get thrashed by the national media, which eventually lead to his firing. We watched, cried, and laughed with each other, as we remembered the man who had such a profound impact on every one of our lives. We embraced the Paterno family as if they were members of our own families, and they are eternally grateful for that.
Photo by: Shawn Inglima
We saw $7,490,133.87, $7,838,054.36, $9,563,016.09, and $10,686,924.83, numbers that were all unimaginable by the originators of THON. The dedication we had to make a change in people’s life that we may, or may not, have known is one of the proudest memories I have from my Penn State career. Our fellow classmates will continue this tradition, and I’m sure they will keep that number growing every year. Even though you are graduating, keep THONing, because we all know that every little bit counts.
Jay Paterno considers us “the most important senior class to ever come out of Penn State.” I couldn’t agree more. We have lead by example, and through happiness and tragedy we lead the student body in the right direction, despite the scorn we received from the national media.
We lost two beautiful souls this year in Gabriella Sicard and Courtney O’Bryan. We helped Gabriella Sicard realize her dream, and got #FlyHighGaby to be the number one trending topic around the world. Even though the national media thrashed us, we didn’t let it get us down, and came together in times of tragedy to remember the people we loved, with respect and compassion for everyone affected.
Photo by: Shawn Inglima
I feel that the bad times that we all experienced together, brought us all so close, and I will forever think of each of you as my brothers and sisters. Class of 2012, I am proud of you, your university is proud of you, and you should be proud of yourselves. We left our impact on this wonderful place in the middle of Pennsylvania, and I have no doubt that you will all go out and make an impact on the world. You will all do great things after graduation. Just remember to wake up every morning, and ask yourself “how can I make a difference today?”
Thank you for the amazing memories Class of 2012! Enjoy Finals and “senior week.” You deserve it!
“Believe deep down in your heart that you’re destined to do great things” – Joseph Vincent Paterno