And the award goes to…
On the evening of April 29, 2011, at the Wyndham Grand Hotel, the former Hilton, located in Pittsburgh, PA, excelling Point Park University students and prestigious university faculty members as well as notable administrators smiled and posed for photos on the red carpet as they checked-in for the 2011 Outstanding Student Awards, an evening to celebrate student achievement.
And there sat at table number 20 a boy with his soft auburn hair and tie dyed hands from the earlier end of the year festivities of dying shirts and bags, Bernard along with friends munched on some fine salad and were astounded by the pure elegance of the hotel ballroom, but certainly Bernard and his table mates did not know what to expect of his award nomination for the Sophomore Experience in leadership.
The evening began with some funny and inspiring YouTube video clips that involved Point Park students from the powerful dance flash mobs of the G-20 summit to some of the Pittsburgh Playhouse performances like Thoroughly Modern Millie and Carousel. But the excitement of the evening certainly took Bernard by surprise as he watched the video montage capture his first ever Pittsburgh Light Up Night debut!
I did not know they even did this. I am slightly embarrassed, but truly happy that it was displayed to more than 100 people in the room. This means I got exposure!
And he certainly did.
Point Park University President, Paul Hennigan and Senior Vice-President for Academic and Student Affairs, Karen McIntyre welcomed the evening with some delightful campus-wide achievements as well as some reflective moments that various students have about Point Park. As the night progressed with award presenters and happy recipients, there the nerves just bubbled inside of Bernard and his award category for The Sophomore Experience Leadership Award was called upon.
As the community director and The Sophomore Experience coordinator, Katie Munsch described the achievements of the award recipient having helped the visually impaired at the Job and Intern fair, the amount of fireworks that went off in Bernard’s head was unimaginable and all sound left his mind as he turned deaf in recognition. With tears in his eyes and excitement in his heart, Bernard walked eagerly to the stage and shook the president’s hand and accepted his award.
I just remember feeling really excited and completely deaf to what was going around me. This is my first award ever to be formerly received and I am on a cloud right now.I just remember going back to my seat and asking if I smiled and if there was clapping, I feel like I just had an outer body experience.
Even though Bernard did not literally leave us for some astral plane expedition, he did manage to dance as he exited the stage with his award in hand and a mile long grin on his face. The energy just seems to not escape from this future television talk show host.
The evening did continue with more honorable awards like Outstanding Advisor, School-based awards, and even the highest achievable award, the President’s Award which the recipient gets an engraved bison-statue. Which graduating senior, Veronika Panagiotou accepted for an overwhelming impact on the quality of life at Point Park through her dedication toward service, leadership, and contributions to the community.
As the night ended with an ice cream sundae buffet in the ballroom lobby, Bernard did manage to take more pictures with the president of the school for his award and congratulated numerous award recipients and nominees.
It was truly blissful to see the excitement and joy in their eyes. I felt the energy in the room and it was certainly positive. I know what award I am going after in the coming years, that is another reason for coming to these events. You get to see what is offered to you and then you can work hard toward achieving it.
There were no acceptance speeches provided by any of the award recipients, most likely due to time constraints, but Bernard did manage to express his utmost gratitude for his accomplishment on his personal blog on Tumblr and you can read his thanks and understand better of why this evening was so inspiring to him.