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100915_Blackburn Spencer Scholarship Pageant allows for a multicultural Home

Multicultural students welcome alumni with the staple of the Blackburn Spencer Scholarship Pageant

Bobcats still have the opportunity for post-football game plans and still remain spirited to honor alumni.

The •Black Student Cultural Programming Board will host its •39th annual Blackburn Spencer Scholarship Pageant in •Baker Center Ballroom, Saturday.

On top of the now sold out pageant, the venue’s stage and runway will host a variety of artistic performances from groups such as •Athens Black Contemporary Dancers and •F.A.C.E.S Modeling followed by a Q&A portion.

Points are given to the contestants through the practices and interactions with the judges, which includes a private interview the Friday before the event, •Winsome Chunnu-Brayda associate director of the Multicultural Center, said. This helps determine what male and female will be crowned king and queen.

Along with the entertainment, there will be a buffet-style 3-course dinner that will be on both sides of the ballroom.

All of the features are setup to fit the theme which varies annually. This year’s theme is •“A Trilogy of The Stars,” which will focus on “Hollywood, •nollywood and •bollywood” films.

“I hope every audience member comes ready to feed their stomachs, and most importantly their minds, Saturday evening,” •Jeffrey Billingslea, president of BSCPB and junior studying political science, said.

The pageants prominence with the multicultural population has been branched in its roots.

The event was developed in 1976 by •Martha Jane Hunley Blackburn and •Donald Spencer. Blackburn was the first black female to graduate from Ohio University, and Spencer was the first black to chair OU’s •Board of Trustees.

The main theme for this pageant is “students helping students.”  The theme continues to be carried out through audience members and scholarship contestants giving donations allowing this scholarship to expand.

Billingslea said he feels this event is not only for the multicultural population on campus, but also for the Homecoming Weekend. due to the Pageant fitting the board’s motto of “Empowerment through cultural awareness.”

“With the pageant theme being ’A Trilogy of The Stars,’ I hope every member of the audience, the contestants, executive board members and myself walk away with greater knowledge and appreciation on the film industries we are celebrating, bollywood, Hollywood, and nollywood, and their cultures,” Billingslea said.

Chunnu Brayda said the students raise money by playing kickball, going to parties, selling grilled cheese on Court Street and social media since late August, Chunnu-Brayda, BSCPB’s advisor, said.

“The night of the pageant is a crescendo, you put all of that together and that’s what helps make it an extraordinary event,” she said.

Money that was funded in the fall is given back during the •University Leadership Gala in April. The amount of money a student receives is based on their community service, GPA and references. This money is aimed toward paying the rising cost of tuition for this scholarship group, Chunnu-Brayda said.

This program has been responsible for nearly 300 scholarships and achievement awards fluctuating from •$500-$1800, Billingslea said.    

“I feel like the pageant sheds a positive light on the multicultural population because it shows that minorities can come together to support each other and to a certain cause.” Morgan Matthews, a sophomore studying marketing and contestant in the Blackburn Spencer Scholarship Pageant, said. “The theme of the pageant also shows that we accept and celebrate all cultures.”


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