Freshman Shaina Smith took first place during the Rotaract International Club’s second annual UCA’s Got Talent on Nov. 9 in the Ida Waldran Auditorium.
Ten students competed after auditioning for first place.
The first performance of the night was a string quartet group that played an opus from the fourth movement of Joseph Haydn’s “The Lark.”
Freshman Dontai Woods followed the quartet with an acapella rendition of John Legend’s “All of Me.”
After Woods, junior Abbey Fletcher danced ballet to dubstep music, and senior Zach Davis performed Tim McGraw’s “It’s Your Love.”
Then the band Lionel performed Steely Dan’s “Peg.”
After Lionel’s performance, freshman Autumne Kendricks acted out a scene, where she played a country girl who moves to the city to audition for a musical.
Freshman Michelle Benson then sang Augustana’s “Boston,” and freshman Chris Maddox read original poetry.
Smith performed next, singing Beyoncé’s “Pretty Hurts.”
Following Smith’s performance, the band The Hollow Jets covered Mac DeMarco’s “Let Her Go.”
As a group of three judges decided on the winner, each contestant received a certificate for participating.
Smith said that when she was declared the winner, it surprised her.
Smith, who wants to sing professionally, said it felt good to win and that it was fun to perform onstage.
“At first I was nervous, but then I remembered I was doing it for enjoyment, not for prizes,” Smith said.
Admission was donations to either the Polio Plus Initiative or Operation Christmas Child.
According to pamphlets offered outside the event, Rotary International has been working with Polio Plus since 1985, and as of 2016, has donated over $1.6 billion toward eradicating polio.
Operation Christmas Child collects donated gifts like toys, shoes and hygiene supplies and fills shoeboxes with the gifts.
Children in need receive the shoeboxes full of gifts around Christmastime.
The night concluded with donations of 193 items and $192.
Senior Rotaract International President Ha Ram Kim said he believed the donations improved on
those of 2016.
Although the first UCA’s Got Talent helped Operation Save Christmas, it also helped fund donations to the Bear Essentials Food Pantry and the Arkansas Department of Human Service’s Division of Children and Family Services, rather than Polio Plus.
Kim said the group hopes to make the event a tradition in order to continue interacting with and helping out the community.
“We’re trying to help whoever we can,” Kim said.