09/17/09 — College kicks off fundraising drive with talent show

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College kicks off fundraising drive with talent show

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on September 17, 2009 1:46 PM

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Kirk Keller, portraying English singer Susan Boyle, plays up to judge Jerry Penuel, who was portraying actor David Hasselhoff, during the talent show kickoff for the Wayne Community College Foundation's annual fund drive on Wednesday at Moffatt Auditorium. The foundation's goal is to raise $360,000 this year for scholarships.

Jack Kannan, director of the Wayne Community College Foundation, pulled out all the stops for this year's annual campus fund drive.

Instead of simply announcing this year's goal -- $23,000 for faculty and staff, $360,000 for the community, he hosted a splashy star-studded kick-off Wednesday afternoon in the college auditorium.

Before a backdrop of "WCC's Got Talent" sat three judges -- Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and David Hasselhoff. They offered their comments, but ultimately the audience decided who was right for the competition -- Sidney Poitier, Diana Ross, Jerry Seinfeld, Elvis Presley or an unannounced "mystery guest."

No, the college's budget did not get an unexpected stimulus package at the last minute.

It was all in fun, with WCC's own taking on all the roles.

English instructor Margaret Baddour hosted the show. The judges -- department heads Ernie White as Cowell, Tracey Ivey as Abdul and Jerry Penuel as Hasselhoff -- traded barbs and banter with the talent pool of their peers -- Roy White, college vice president, as Poitier; Gabriella King from the nursing department as the lead singer for the Supremes; Randall Shearon as Seinfeld; and Brent Hood as The King, who "Cowell" pointed out did an especially wonderful job considering he's "been dead for more than 30 years."

But it was the final act that brought the crowd to its feet and cinched the winning votes for the competition.

The audience was first treated to a showing of YouTube sensation Susan Boyle, of "Britain's Got Talent" fame, before the wide screen slowly raised to reveal WCC staffer Kirk Keller portraying Ms. Boyle in all her -- er, his -- finery. Decked out in a pink lace dress with matching wedge heels, Keller flirted with the judges and announced, as Ms. Boyle had after gaining some notoriety, that "she" had never been kissed. Her request for Kannan to do the honors evoked laughter.

While the hour-long show was light-hearted and fun-filled, the subject was serious -- raising money for student scholarships.

"We know how important scholarships are now that the economy makes it hard to go to school when we need it the most," said

Tanisha Eutsey, SGA president, said the WCC students' aim was to raise one dollar per curriculum student, or $3,700, then challenged faculty and staff to meet their goal.

"This is the first time that we have put out the gauntlet for the students to contribute," said Dr. Kay Albertson, WCC president. "We realize that they really do recognize what we do for them and we knew that they wanted to be a part."

The kick-off also provided an opportunity to recognize two employees, with the annual distinguished chair awards. Receiving a crystal globe and $5,000 travel award each were math instructor Phyllis Patterson and Craig Foucht, department head of automotive programs.