Scholarships awarded to talent show winners

Alexandra ScicchitanoContributor

Winners of the Expressions of Social Justice Talent Show were awarded scholarships, but one student claims her group was cheated out of winning.

“It was a surprise to us that he offered scholarships to the individual winners and for the clubs and organizations. He offered them funds that can go into their fundraising to support the organization,” said Dian Brown-Albert, coordinator of cultural affairs.

Brown-Albert said that Bertolino made the winners’ year with the offer. The winners were Moniq’ue Harriot for first, second place was Fejiro Onakponea and third place was Huon Howard for the individual category. In the group and organization category Steppin’ Up Drill Team won first, Caribbean Student Association in second and Organization of Latin American Students in third.

First place won $1000 scholarships, second place won $500 scholarships and third place won $250 scholarships, along with the prizes made for the event, said Brown-Albert.

Michel’le Langley, a sophomore and social work major, said she really enjoyed the event and bringing awareness to social justice is generally good. Jason Ampah, a junior and computer science major, said it was good to get out and have fun.

Andrea Meyers, mother to talent contestant, Jonathan Meyers, said he asked her and her husband to go and see him in the show.

“I’m very proud of him,” she said. “He’s been singing since he was in middle school.”

Meyers also said she was impressed by all the courage by the performers to get up there and perform their acts.

“The event, all together, was fun. It was like a big family,” said Troya Coote, a sophomore and psychology major.

Coote said that her and her organization, African Students Association, felt cheated out, that it felt unfair on the group and organization side. She said that some groups did not portray social issues, part of the judging criteria.

“They shook their a–es in the judges face and then turned around and said Black Lives Matter,” said Coote. “If it’s social justice, we don’t shake our a–es in judges’ faces. We got cheated.”

Brown-Albert said the decision for third was very close between ASA and OLAS.

The judges look for overall performance and score them on a scale of one to 20, Brown-Albert said. They look for audience response, stage appearance, originality, personality and social justice representation, which Brown-Albert said can earn performers one to five extra points. The five judges’ scores were then added up to decide the winners, she said.

“Everything was done fairly and consistently according to the rules and judging criteria,” said Brown-Albert. “Students are free to come in and look at judging criteria and results, if they like.”

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Photo Credit: Alexandra Scicchitano


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