Students, led by Edwardsburg’s Cody Adkins, organized Southwestern Michigan College’s third annual Celebration of Diversity, SMC’s Got Talent.
The first such event celebrated diversity in gender, race and ethnicity.
Last December’s observance emphasized four holidays, Hanukkah, Diwali, Kwanzaa and Mawlid un-Nabi.
SMC celebrated student performing arts and non-performing arts Dec. 3 with 13 live acts and artists competing for $200 in prize money thanks to sponsorship by the Diversity Committee, Sociology Club, Honors Club and Criminal Justice Club.
Freestyle dancers Evan Robison, a Niles graphic design major, and Mykail Bigby, a Kalamazoo psychology major, captured the $75 first prize. Second and $50 went to Niles speech pathology major Kara West singing “She Used to Be Mine.”
Another singer, Kharee Kimber, won the $25 third prize with “Lay Me Down.” He hails from Romulus and is interested in interior design.
Still art was exhibited in the lobby of the theatre of the Dale A. Lyons Building on SMC’s Dowagiac campus, for which St. Joseph social work major Rebecca Johnson won $50.
Sociology Club President Kristina Wildes from Marcellus said her group provided the prize gift cards, created programs and hung fliers to promote the event. “I was also involved backstage, making sure everyone was in the right place and helped count the judge’s scores.”
“SMC has been the perfect upgrade from high school,” Wildes said. “I’m excited to be a part of more events in the future that bring more students together!”
“It was my pleasure to observe Cody and the rest of the group organizing this event,” Professor Dr. Barbara Karwacinski said. “This was a wonderful opportunity for students to lead, to learn, to communicate, to display interpersonal skills and to achieve tasks effectively. We have fantastic students here at SMC.”
“I served as faculty advisor on behalf of the Diversity Committee,” she added, “and, truly, was just an observer of our students taking the lead. I hope SMC’s Got Talent becomes a new tradition.”
• Violinist Abbey Churney, Paw Paw general studies major, offered “Death of a Bachelor.” “I was inspired to start playing violin after listening to/watching Lindsey Stirling play. My high school did not have an orchestra. I started playing on my own and for a while had a friend give me informal lessons. I did join jazz band my senior year and eventually played my violin by ear there.”
• Saxophonist Sam Loomis, Gobles music education major, played “Aria.”
• Kacie Shaffer, Watervliet social work major, presented her original song, “I’d Need a Savior,” singing and accompanying herself on piano.
• Essexville graphic design major Destiny Choyce, sang/rapped “All the Stars.”
• Detroit psychology major EJ Davidson, who writes as a hobby, read an original poem, “Dear Love.”
• Jessica Flagel of Watervliet, completing her general studies associate degree, sang “Ice Ice Baby.”
• Terryn Williams sang “Make You Feel My Love.”
• Wyatt Marshall, singer/guitarist, did “The Girl From Maple Road.”
• Nia Williams sang “Stay.”
• Gabe Detweiler played guitar.