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OHIO faculty, staff showcase talents during annual pageant (PHOTOS)


Pure talent, a little silliness and a desire to give to a worthy cause took center stage Feb. 22 as Ohio University faculty and staff overcame their stage fright and braved a room full of spectators to compete in Alpha Phi Omega’s annual Ava Nichols’ Faculty Pageant. 

Seven OHIO employees vied for the first-place tiara and sash during this seventh annual fundraiser, but it was a family performance of the 1985 all-star charity single “We Are the World” that earned Assistant Dean of Students Jamie Patton his first faculty pageant win. 

Patton seized the opportunity to welcome his family members into the Bobcat family and called attention to recent events across our country, around the world and here at Ohio University before turning the microphone over to the youngest members of his family. The Patton family youth began the song and were later joined by Jamie Patton and other adult members of his family. But it was the youngest members of the family that stole the show. The Baker University Center Ballroom echoed a resounding “aww” as the winner’s tiara was placed atop Patton’s youngest daughter’s head.

Coming in second place was Stephanie Tikkanen, assistant professor in the School of Communication Studies who won last year’s pageant. Members of the National Communication Association Student Club joined Tikkanen, their adviser, for this year’s performance – an “unsynchronized swimming” routine complete with beach balls and swim caps.

Third-place honors went to two separate performances – a juggling lesson provided by Dean of Students and Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Jenny Hall-Jones and a piano and vocal performance by Kim Resanovich, a lecturer in the School of Nursing.

All of the contestants competed in the pageant’s three rounds, including a formal wear round, a question-and-answer session, and the talent portion. Other talents on display included a magic trick performed by Assistant Professor of Political Science Jennifer Fredette, a German lesson turned sing-and-dance-along from Professor of Psychology Julie Suhr, and a poetry reading by Lisa Yehl, an instructor in the Department of Social and Public Health. An added treat to this year’s event were special performances by Section 8, OHIO’s all-male a cappella group, and delfin bautista*, director of OHIO’s LGBT Center who provided a humorous rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” in drag. 

Presented by OHIO’s chapter of the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, the pageant began seven years ago as a benefit for Ava Nichols, a 4-year-old girl who had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. While Ava lost her battle with cancer in 2012, Alpha Phi Omega has continued the pageant, which each year includes a video tribute to its namesake.

This year’s pageant served as a benefit for Camp Quality Ohio, a non-profit organization that serves children with cancer and their families by providing a summer camping experience, year-round programs, and support, all at no cost. According to Sam Kissinger, a member of Alpha Phi Omega and co-chair of this year’s pageant, the fraternity has raised about $1,500 for Camp Quality Ohio so far this year, with additional fundraising events planned for later this semester.

Here are some memorable moments from this year’s Ava Nichols’ Faculty Pageant:

Assistant Dean of Students Jamie Patton – with his 3-year-old daughter, Eboni, by his side – reacts to being named the winner of the Seventh Annual Ava Nichols’ Faculty Pageant.

Assistant Dean of Students Jamie Patton – with his 3-year-old daughter, Eboni, by his side – reacts to being named the winner of the Seventh Annual Ava Nichols’ Faculty Pageant.

Jamie Patton joins his family on stage as they collectively sing “We Are the World” during the 2016 Ava Nichols’ Faculty Pageant, held Feb. 22 in the Baker University Center Ballroom.

Jamie Patton joins his family on stage as they collectively sing “We Are the World” during the 2016 Ava Nichols’ Faculty Pageant, held Feb. 22 in the Baker University Center Ballroom.

Dean of Students and Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Jenny Hall-Jones juggles with Ohio University junior Kelsey Crowley. Hall-Jones noted the appropriateness of her performance at this year’s pageant as she has been “juggling” two jobs.

Dean of Students and Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Jenny Hall-Jones juggles with Ohio University junior Kelsey Crowley. Hall-Jones noted the appropriateness of her performance at this year’s pageant as she has been “juggling” two jobs this academic year.

Kim Resanovich, a lecturer in the College of Health Sciences and Professions’ School of Nursing, earned a rousing round of applause for her rendition of Lauren Daigle’s “First.”

Kim Resanovich, a lecturer in the College of Health Sciences and Professions’ School of Nursing, earned a rousing round of applause for her rendition of Lauren Daigle’s “First.”

Abby Fajack and Ty Tracy, members of Alpha Phi Omega who emceed this year’s Ava Nichols’ Faculty Pageant, sing and dance along to Julie Suhr’s pageant performance.

Abby Fajack and Ty Tracy, members of Alpha Phi Omega who emceed this year’s Ava Nichols’ Faculty Pageant, sing and dance along to Julie Suhr’s pageant performance. Suhr, a professor of psychology, took the opportunity to teach the audience a few German words and accompanying gestures for a sing-and-dance-along to a German song.

Stephanie Tikkanen, assistant professor in the Scripps College of Communication’s School of Communication Studies, strikes a pose during the formal wear round of the pageant. Tikkanen donned a hand-made, OHIO-themed gown for the event.

Stephanie Tikkanen, assistant professor in the Scripps College of Communication’s School of Communication Studies, strikes a pose during the formal wear round of the pageant. Tikkanen donned a hand-made, OHIO-themed gown for the event.

Jamie Patton’s daughters, Eboni (front right) and Jazmine (back right), and nieces, Avi Figueroa (back left) and Sara Figueroa (back center), sing “We Are the World” in a performance that earned Patton first place in the pageant.

Jamie Patton’s daughters, Eboni (front right) and Jazmine (back right), and nieces, Avi Figueroa (back left) and Sara Figueroa (back center), sing “We Are the World” in a performance that earned Patton first place in the pageant.

Dean of Students and Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Jenny Hall-Jones donned her academic regalia for the formal wear round at the Seventh Annual Ava Nichols’ Faculty Pageant.

Dean of Students and Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Jenny Hall-Jones donned her academic regalia for the formal wear round at the Seventh Annual Ava Nichols’ Faculty Pageant.

Brian Krebs, who oversees public relations for Camp Quality Ohio, addresses the audience at the Ava Nichols’ Faculty Pageant.

Brian Krebs, who oversees public relations for Camp Quality Ohio, addresses the audience at the Ava Nichols’ Faculty Pageant. Krebs shared some information about the non-profit organization whose motto is “Letting kids with cancer be kids again.” Krebs also thanked the OHIO community for its support of Camp Quality Ohio, noting that Ohio University provides the organization with its largest group of volunteers.

Jamie Patton’s family poses for a photo after winning this year’s faculty pageant.

Jamie Patton’s family poses for a photo after winning this year’s faculty pageant. Pictured are (from left, front) Sara Figueroa, 9; RJ Figueroa, 14; Ali Figueroa, 10; Roy Figueroa; Serina Figueroa, 15; Celeste Figueroa; Skye Figueroa, 11; Jamie Patton; Elisa Patton, who teaches in OHIO’s School of Nursing; (from left, back) Armando Figueroa, 3; Eboni Patton, 3; Avi Figueroa, 7; and Jazmine Patton, 5.


*delfin bautista prefers the lowercase form of their name and gender neutral pronouns.