By Alexis Rufener
Youngstown State University’s Honors Program kicked off their third annual Honors Talent Show at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
The students spent the entire semester planning the show and putting together their acts. The advance preparations shone through as the honors students strummed their strings, waved their hands and projected their voices on the stage.
Kayla Zitello, a backstage crew member and planning committee member for the talent show, said she likes to think of the talent show as a way for honors students to escape from their schoolwork, while also helping raise money for Relay for Life.
“Stereotypically, honors students are seen as kids who spend all of their time studying, trying to make the grade. The talent show gives the performers the chance to show YSU that there is more to them than that, that they have other talents that they enjoy,” Zitello said. “It also gives the performers a chance to have fun and show their skills, and the audience a chance to support their peers and see the hidden talents that their friends and classmates may possess.”
Other planning committee members Alana Lanansky, Christine Langer, Natalie Halavick and Sara O’Kane met at the start of the year to begin planning for the event. The girls found honors students to sign up for the talent show and from there it was up to the students to choose their act.
“Some of the acts always surprise me,” Zitello said. “There is always someone who impresses me with their ability, and some of the acts can be unpredictable.”
From Joey Verbosky singing Frank Sinatra’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” to Christine Langer making four separate appearances on stage, the acts were as varied as they were entertaining.
Alana Lanansky performed her own jazz routine to Pat Benatar’s “Heartbreaker,” which ended with her jumping off the stage into an audience member’s arms. She said she believes that the talent show allows honors students to let loose and have fun between their strenuous classes.
“Everybody that’s performing [in the talent show] really has the love for performing and it’s really great to have an outlet for that,” Lanasky said. “I want them to feel the love that all the performers have. I want them to get a chance to … realize that sometimes there’s the misconception that honor students just do school and that’s just not true.”