by Kyle Burgess on January 30, 2020
by Matthew Mazzella ’20
On Wednesday, January 22, Providence College continued its third annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Convocation celebrations in ’64 Hall with the Student Celebration of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The event offered a talent show for students of all backgrounds to showcase their skills in celebration of Dr. King’s legacy. The event included food from across the world to help bring diversity into the event, as well as raffle prizes for spectators and a $500 prize awarded to Caylynn Maldonado ‘22 for her karate performance.
Nancy Kelley, senior executive assistant to the president, was a huge reason this event was made possible. She and her team have been working tirelessly to make this week as impactful as possible. Kelley shared her thoughts on the student celebration, saying, “The talent show is meant to capture different talents among students across campus as we want to showcase all students and the unique talents they have. There was a flyer in December promoting the event, and it asked all candidates to send in a video clip of their talent so they could see that it would be appropriate for the event.”
Kelley also listed the timeline of events that took place throughout the week on campus. The events spanned from Monday through Friday, including MLK Day of Change, MLK Prayer Vigil, Student Celebration of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., MLK Humanities Forum, and keynote speaker Ndaba Mandela, grandson of Nelson Mandela.
Estarlyn Hiraldo ’21, who goes by the stage name “Starling,” is an aspiring hip hop artist who performed his song “Like Fire” at the student celebration. Hiraldo left for his semester abroad in Prague on the following Monday and was happy to be able to be a part of the performance right before he departed from Friartown.
Hiraldo shared what hip hop music means to him and why he loves performing so much. He stated, “Performing describes how I feel as an artist and a rapper in a society where hip hop is a dominant genre. It is all about hype, who has the best flow, and the flashiest things. My music comes from my upbringing and where I am coming from. I have always loved to rap, and I have been making music since I was twelve. I want to put certain frustrations out there for people to relate to and I am trying to make it fun and real, and I hope to touch people’s hearts.”
Many students and faculty came out to enjoy the event, including Andre Rogers ’20. Rogers had a great time watching his classmates showcase their unique talents, and he took a particular liking to Maldonado’s winning karate performance.
Rogers reflected on the student celebration by saying, “I had an amazing time at the talent show! It was awesome to see some of PC’s finest engage in friendly competition through dance performances, rap battles, and singing. Maldonado’s karate routine especially caught my eye. The way Maldonado gracefully kicked, flipped, and punched in the air made me feel like I was watching Rush Hour 2 for the very first time all over again. I sure would want her by my side if I ever needed backup. Great job to everyone who performed!”
As the week dedicated to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., comes to a close, it is essential we do not forget his most important teachings. King once said, “People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”
The Student Celebration allowed for students to display their background and passions to connect with people on a more personal level. Overall, the event was a huge success and was another stride towards bringing the College community a little bit closer.