Honors’ Got Talent
By Jordan Unger
The Youngstown State Honors College hosted its fourth annual Talent Show in Kilcawley Center on Feb. 24. The event showcased the extracurricular talents of YSU students and raised money for the Honors Relay for Life team.
Thirteen acts took the stage in the Chestnut Room, performing for other YSU students and families who attended the event. They were followed by a performance from the YSU acapella group PellaPenguins. The acts were observed by a panel of three judges, and the top three acts were recognized at the end of the night.
First place was awarded to seniors Alana Lesnansky and Jonathan Pohl for their singing and dancing duet. Lesnansky danced and Pohl sang in their performance of “Show Off” from “The Drowsy Chaperone”.
Lesnansky said she and Pohl had been planning the performance since last year when they thought it would be nice to do an act together.
“The whole premise of the song is that she doesn’t want to show off anymore, but she’s just kidding,” Lesnansky said. “We figured it would be funny since it’s our senior year.”
Lesnansky and Pohl said schoolwork does not conflict with keeping up with their talents. They said that the talent show is a great way to express other dimensions of themselves.
“I sang a lot in high school, and it’s nice to still be able to showcase that,” Pohl said.
Second place was awarded to Tommy Carnes, Mike Palagano and Efrain Velez for their performance of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.” Third place was awarded to Christopher Poullas and his band’s performance of an original piece.
Christine Novicky is a YSU alumni and has judged the talent show for the past four years. Novicky said that the participants are reviewed by five criteria.
“We judge based on originality, entertainment value, audience appeal, skill level and overall esthetic appeal,” Novicky said.
Amy Cossentino, the director of the Honors College at YSU, said that the first idea for the talent show came up during an Intro to Honors seminar in the spring of 2013.
“A couple of the students who were in that seminar seemed to be individuals who might take an interest in running that type of event,” Cossentino said.
Cossentino said the talent show has been an annual event ever since.
The Honors Talent Show was founded by Alana Lesnansky and Kayla Zitello. Zitello said the organization of the event has improved since its first year running.
“The day of the show was a mess, and we’ve streamlined from that,” Zitello said.
The founders said they’ve learned to organize the acts more effectively and take care of things with more timeliness.
This year’s show was organized by a committee of five students. Lesnansky said several of the younger committee members are expected to take over next year.
“We brought in a couple of sophomores now to help us,” Lesnansky said, “So next year, when we graduate, someone knows how to [run the show].”
Stagehands also volunteered the night of the show to move equipment and props on the stage.
Zitello said the talent show is a significant way to stay involved on campus.
“It gives them a way to showcase their talents outside of the classroom,” Zitello said.
All of the proceeds from the talent show supported the YSU Honors Relay for Life team. The YSU Relay for Life will begin at 6:00 p.m. in Beeghly Center on April 15. The overnight event will raise money for the American Cancer Society.
The YSU Relay for Life will feature activities through the night as people walk for cancer awareness, including Zumba, dancing, movies and games.
Kirstie Feorene is the Honors Relay for Life team captain. Feorene said it is an event that everyone needs to experience.
“Everyone is coming together for this common goal, which is such a pure thing,” Feorene said. “It’s just an absolutely wonderful room to walk into.”