Assistant Dean of Students Jamie Patton, pictured with his daughter Eboni, reacts to being named the winner of last year’s Ava Nichols’ Faculty Pageant.

Assistant Dean of Students Jamie Patton, pictured with his daughter Eboni, reacts to being named the winner of last year’s Ava Nichols’ Faculty Pageant.

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OHIO faculty, staff to perform at eighth annual Ava Nichols’ Faculty Pageant


The Ohio University community is gearing up for an annual evening of philanthropy, entertainment and friendly competition, featuring OHIO faculty and staff.

OHIO’s chapter of the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity is once again holding its Ava Nichols’ Faculty Pageant, an event showcasing the talents of Ohio University faculty and staff while also raising money for charity. The eighth annual event, which is open to members of the OHIO and local communities, is slated for 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27, in the Baker University Center Ballroom. 

According to event organizers, this year’s pageant will feature at least six OHIO faculty and staff members who will compete in a formal wear round, a talent competition and a question-and-answer session.

“Normally the same people perform every year, but most of this year’s performers are new to the competition, so it will be a brand new experience,” said Haley Polsdorfer, a member of Alpha Phi Omega and co-chair of the event.

OHIO faculty and staff who have already signed up to perform at the event are:

  • Joe Brenckle, a graduate assistant for community engagement in OHIO’s Community Involvement Center
  • Joy Cobb, a student success advisor in the Allen Student Advising Center
  • Daniel Farkas, a lecturer in the Scripps College of Communication’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism
  • Jessica Hagman, social media coordinator for University Libraries and subject librarian for the Scripps College of Communication
  • John McCarthy, associate professor of communication sciences and disorders and associate director in the College of Health Sciences and Professions
  • Julie Suhr, a professor of psychology and director of clinical training in the College of Arts and Sciences

The specifics of their acts remain a secret, but past performances have included singing, stand-up comedy and choreographed dances.

“This night is a really cool way to get faculty directly involved with students,” said Madison Baumer, a member of Alpha Phi Omega and co-chair of the event. 

Baumer said she is excited to meet and interact with faculty and staff at the event, including Senior Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Jenny Hall-Jones who, after competing in the event for several years, will be seated at the judge’s table at this year’s pageant. Joining Hall-Jones in judging the event will be Alex Malcolm, president of OHIO’s chapter of Alpha Phi Omega, and Jacob Hagman, an academic advisor and advisor for Alpha Phi Omega. 

To add even more entertainment to the night, Ohio University’s female a cappella group Tempo Tantrums will also be performing at the event.

The best thing about the pageant, however, isn’t the amazing performances of OHIO faculty and staff.

“This event is important because it helps raise money for a really great cause,” said Baumer. “It is for entertainment, but it’s also about raising awareness about different types of terminal illnesses.”
 
Alpha Phi Omega began hosting the pageant eight years ago as a benefit for Ava Nichols, a 4-year-old girl from Marietta, Ohio, who had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. Ava lost her battle with cancer in 2012, but Alpha Phi Omega continues to host the event in her memory and to raise money for childhood cancer organizations.

As in past years, 100 percent of the profits from the pageant will go to 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, at no cost. Last year, the Ava Nichols’ Faculty Pageant raised $3,500 to help children with cancer attend the camp.

A video tribute to Ava will be shown during the pageant, and volunteers who have worked at Camp Quality Ohio will be speaking about their experiences at the camp.

“I personally think hearing Ava’s story and watching the video is the best part of the event,” said Baumer. “It’s very touching and a good reminder to appreciate life.”

Tickets for the pageant are $5. Pre-sale tickets will be available from 3 to 5 p.m. Feb. 20, 21 and 23 on the first floor of Baker University Center. Tickets will also be available for purchase at the door the night of the event.