Best Buddies organization hosts talent show


Madalyn Edwards

Students wave their cell phone flashlights during one of the performances in the talent show.

Madalyn Edwards, Associate News Editor

The Scholars with Diverse Abilities Appalachian Best Buddies organization hosted a talent show for its members Nov. 2.

App State’s Scholars with Diverse Abilities Program allows scholars to attend classes and engage in the college community for up to two years. Best Buddies works with SDAP to create an inclusive community where members can engage with others and create friendships, according to the organization’s website.

According to Jordan Kelley, the chapter president of Best Buddies, the group hosted the talent show to allow its participants to engage with each other, show off their skills and to create a fun and safe environment.

“We pair individuals with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities into buddy friendships to create more of an inclusive community,” Kelley said.

Kelley said the Best Buddies program allows both scholars and buddies to engage in events and have fun. 

“It’s just a fun time with the club,” Kelley said. “We all hype each other up so much. So, it’s awesome.” 

A total of seven participants performed during the event. 

Anne Carol Sheely was the first to perform. She sang “Come Back… Be Here” by Taylor Swift.

Next, Ross Gordon engaged the audience by singing “Just Wanna Be With You” from “High School Musical 3: Senior Year.

Kelley took her turn next with her cover of “Burn” from the musical “Hamilton.”

Olivia Congiusta exhibited her talent by showing her drawing of a hummingbird.

Later, Bridger Robinson and Gordon joined each other to sing a duet of “Don’t Ya Wish U Were Us?” from the movie “Lemonade Mouth.” 

Nathan Sanchez then took the stage to rock out to the song “In the End” by Linkin Park. During the performance, the lights were dimmed and the energized crowd waved their cell phone flashlights as Sanchez performed.

The audience clapped along as Sam Butcher performed “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction, joined by backup dancer Tokel Boyd.

Lastly, Tokel Boyd closed out the night by showing off his dancing skills to the song “Low” by Flo Rida. 

Some students said performing in the talent show allowed for a way to express themselves and their interests.

“Dance has always been who I am as a person,” Boyd said after his performances. “It’s just how I describe myself.” 

Robinson said his song choice was influenced by other bands for the performance.

 “The music is just very much just in your face, high energy,” Robinson said. “Like the Beastie Boys and Red Hot Chili Peppers.” 

Kelley reflected on the group and its participants, saying, “The scholars are super awesome.” 

The organization, which meets every other Wednesday night, plans to host more activities for its members. The organization will host a Friendsgiving event Nov. 16.