Commencement Contest Showcases Talent in a New Way

PCC’s annual Commencement Contest took a new spin this year, adding an evening to showcase the talents of all the first place winners at the Commencement Awards Concert. Dr. Amy Bombard, dean of visual and performing arts, said, “This year, the art, music, speech, and writing areas wanted to showcase all of the hard work of our students. This evening’s program and gallery opening allow us to do just that.”

Lyle Fleming (So., FL), winner of the Brass category for his piece “Andante and Allegro,” was not initially planning to enter the contest. However, four days before the competition began, his teacher told him he should enter. “I was absolutely blown away when I found out that I had won,” he said. “I did not expect it at all. Playing in the Commencement Awards Concert is another way that I can glorify God through the talents that He gave me.”

During the Commencement Awards Concert, the audience also enjoyed dramatic presentations and original essays. For Gloria Hunter (Jr., AL), that meant she would be able to share her entry from the Extemporaneous Essay Contest. “I didn’t expect to win. I just expected to go in to the competition and do my best, but I am excited to share with other students what writing means to me,” she said.

After the Commencement Awards Concert, the audience was encouraged to join students and faculty for the art gallery opening across campus in the Visual and Performing Arts building. To Shawn Thayer, chair of the visual arts department, the purpose of the Art Gallery was to “highlight the best student achievements in the visual arts. We wanted to make the display something special.” The art gallery opening also allowed students to connect with viewers and the local community, networking with people viewing their prize-winning works and sharing their inspiration for pieces.

The initial concept for the art gallery opening came from graphic design teacher Greg Hewitt’s graduate students. One of Hewitt’s students involved in the pre-planning stages, Abigail Emtage (’14) said, “This special opening night demonstrates respect and appreciation for the students’ work. It provides a unique opportunity for students to come together to be inspired and motivated by each other’s work.”

At the close of the evening, students left the concert and art gallery opening with a sense of accomplishment. Men’s Voice winner Stephen Spilger (Sr., MO) put it perfectly when he said, “I can’t take any credit for the talent I have, because God gave it to me. Performing in the Commencement Awards Concert let me be able to praise God.”

2016 Commencement Contest

Writing Winners

Original Narrative

Sean Delaney


Gloria Hunter

Original Narrative

Shaye Buzard

Speech Winners

Dramatic Reading

Trevor Wilkins


Liz Thomason

Graduate Presentation

Austin Gardner



Sarah Oziemkiewicz

Men’s Voice

Stephen Spilger


Lyle Fleming


Sarah Kim

Original Composition

Junya Minami


Hunter Smith

Church Arrangement

Edith Howell

Women’s Voice

Patience Huffman

Chamber Music Winners

Felipe Deakins, Rina Han, & Sarah Kim



Lucas Silveira


Deborah Lim


Raymond Lauer

Graphic Design Print

Maggie Michella

Graphic Design Digital

Eric Boggs


Veronica Linti


Dominic Amato

Graduate Studio Art

Joyful Enriquez

Graphic Design

Katie Barich

Best of Show

Veronica Linti & Zakhar Somov

Outstanding Spiritual
Emphasis Undergrad

Anna Poindexter & Eric Boggs

Best of Show Grad

Joyful Enriquez & Haley Cobb

Outstanding Spiritual
Emphasis Grad

Katie Barich & Jill Mitchell

Published 05/08/2016