Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Retention Scholars host first Cultural Pageant


Suffolk students represented various countries from around the world as they competed through song on the stage of the Modern Theatre for the first Cultural Pageant sponsored by the Retention Scholars last Friday.


Six students, donning sashes declaring their chosen country, participated in a talent show and questionnaire. The focus was on diversity to determine who would win the pageant’s crown.


Contestants included Jeffrey Numero as Mr. Haiti, John Beksha as Mr. Canada, Sabrina Morton as Miss USA, Camilla Akbas as Miss Iran, Kalia Pimentel as Miss Cape Verde, and Rosa Estrella as Miss Dominican Republic.


The show opened with introductions by the hosts, Andy Deossa, 2013, and Isatta Comber, 2014, as they invited each participant to say a few words about the country they chose to represent. The showcase was intended to highlight cultural diversity and acceptance of all students’ ethnicities and identities. All of the contestants echoed this sentiment in proclaiming their chosen country for the event.


The Suffolk Step Team performed next, boasting coordination and enthusiasm as they energetically clapped and stomped to the audience’s delight.


Following the Step Team’s act, the pageant contestants competed against each other using their own talents of music and dance to impress the panel of Retention Scholar judges.


First, Mr. Haiti sang and played the keyboard with his band as the audience clapped along to the soulful, jazzy beat. He and the band remained on stage to collaborate with Miss USA as she sang to their instrumentals.


The musical talents of both these contestants were then challenged by Miss Dominican Republic’s merengue dancing, as her bright red, flouncy skirt swirled around her quick-moving feet.  Miss Iran performed a traditional Persian dance routine, circling a man with her sultry moves and jingling skirt.


Miss Cape Verde sang an a’cappella version of Temptations’ “My Girl,” dedicated to her father, who used to sing it to her as a child.  Finally, Mr. Canada performed Celine Dion’s “Taking Chances” (acappella).  Both singers showed off their pipes and stage presence, taking the audience artfully through their own renditions of the ups and downs of each classic song.


A short intermission was followed by a questionnaire session calling on the contestants’ beliefs and values regarding culture and diversity. Mr. Haiti reiterated why he chose to represent the island nation, telling the audience that Haiti is “so diverse,” more so than many Americans realize.


Miss USA spoke of Suffolk’s dedication to celebrating and accepting diversity through its vibrant cultural clubs out of the Office of Diversity Services.


“Everyone has a place at Suffolk,” she said, applauding the university for its dedication to accept everyone.


Miss Dominican Republic spoke about culture and its influence on our lives. She also complimented Suffolk’s culturally oriented clubs, saying they have helped her meet more people who understand the culture she comes from and, ultimately, feel more accepted and at home at Suffolk.


Miss Iran promoted the importance of diversity among our students.


“Embrace [your differences] or else you’ll be just like everyone else,” she said.


Miss Cape Verde spoke about the importance of community, of everyone coming together as one for good causes.


“Everyone is the same in at least one aspect,” she told the crowd and judges.


Mr. Canada shared his belief in “maintaining your culture as part of your everyday life,” to stay connected to family and help through troubles and changes in life. He said the most important aspect of this mantra is to be yourself.


The questionnaire was followed by dance performance by Suffolk’s hip-hop dance crew, Wicked.  With neon-colored outfits and high-powered moves, the dancers entertained the captivated audience as they waited to hear who won the crown.


Before announcing the winners, the judges reminded the audience that Retention Services exists for all of us.


“We’re here for you, we want you to be comfortable here at Suffolk,” said Samienta Pierre-Vil, a Retention Scholar.
Ultimately, Miss USA took third place, Mr. Haiti second place, and Mr. Canada was awarded first place and a new iPad. After the show, everyone was invited to a free reception at 150 Tremont for food and dancing.

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Retention Scholars host first Cultural Pageant