By Abigail LaRoy

Celebration is an SFO opportunity where Malone’s worship team gathers together every other Thursday night in the East Campus Center for a night to worship God and hear the message of truth together as a community. Celebration is entirely student led which puts a unique twist on hearing the Gospel from a busy college student, struggling to make it to the end of the semester one paper, quiz, and exam at a time. And while Celebration may be a great opportunity to get an SFO swipe out of the way, it is a time to forget about the stress of classes and experience a welcoming presence of praise and worship with members of our Malone community. Before the doors open and the band starts playing, there is a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into putting on an event like Celebration. From the message, to the music, and even a group of students outside welcoming others at the door, Celebration is an experience with many moving parts that work together for one purpose, “to gather with Malone friends to just be together and ultimately show and share Jesus in that,” said Maddie Vallance, junior Accounting major. If you have attended Celebration at all this semester, than you probably know Dominic Mariano, a junior in the Youth and Education Ministries Department and one of the head speakers for Celebration worship. While Dom may make it seem easy standing in front of all your peers and preaching the gospel, it turns out the task is actually more difficult than it appears. “I get anxious…sometimes it feels like spiritual warfare to stop me from spreading the Gospel,’’ said Mariano. Mariano says that when he feels overwhelmed about delivering a message, he reminds himself that it is all about God, and that he has to have confidence in order to fulfill what God has called him to do. Regardless of the stress of public speaking, Mariano also emphasized that being a Celebration member is extremely rewarding. His favorite parts about Celebration are getting to meet new people, experiencing the opportunities that come with it and most importantly, seeing people gather to hear the word of God. He also mentioned how much he has enjoyed getting to know the other members of the group. He wants students to know that just because they are leading the group does not mean that they are perfect. “We are just gifted with the ability to share what’s on our hearts,” said Mariano. Celebration is probably most known for their contemporary christian worship music. Vallance is also a part of the team, she is the head worship leader for Celebration. She has been involved with the group for two years however this is her first year in a leadership position. According to Vallance, the most rewarding part of being a worship leader is seeing everything come together when students arrive after hours of practice. “People in the room transform practice entirely into something more complete. People are present and it causes a transformation,” said Vallance. She has her own personal mission statement for Celebration, to gather a community together and worship as one student body. She also mentioned how amazing it has been to lead alongside Mariano and Audra Edwards, and getting to know everyone else on the Celebration team. Celebration does not just take place on the stage, but outside of the front doors as well. If you’ve ever walked into the front doors of the East Campus Center and been bombarded with high fives and handshakes, Xavier Moore is the man behind it all. Moore, the welcome team coordinator, organizes a group of students to greet people at the front doors before worship. He says that the most important part of his job is “being able to support the leaders of celebration and to welcome, encourage, and build relationships with students attending celebration,” said Moore, junior pastoral ministries major. Moore says that through his job, he hopes “that people feel apart of the community at Malone through worshiping God and hearing his word.“ As of now, the welcoming committee has a set team of students, but Moore says that anyone is welcome to come and join their team, and if anyone is interested, to reach out to him and he would love to talk. If you’re looking for a place to come together and hear the word of God in a setting that is genuine and geared towards students like you, Celebration is the place to be. year. Coakley expresses a similar take on the enjoyed tutoring experience. “I really like helping other people with their math homework, or really just anything that I can help with. Tutoring also helps me to review materials while teaching them,” Coakley said. “It’s a really good experience to be able to say that you helped someone else when applying for jobs and internships. It shows that you know what you’re doing to the point where you are able to help others with it.” Besides the benefit of looking more prepared for future professions, tutors reap various other advantages from this program. “You get paid for each tutoring session,”said Nicholas Michels, sophomore Mathematics major. “I actually started out with tutoring in a high school. Here [at Malone] I don’t have to go off campus, which makes it a lot easier.” With various benefits for both the tutor and the student, the tutoring program is ideal for a range of people. “To anyone even slightly interested, I would definitely recommend at least trying it. Even if it’s just one session and you decide that it’s not for you, at least you gave it a shot,” Oscovitch said. “For me, I’m so thankful that I gave the tutoring program this shot. Grace is honestly fantastic, and I can see improvements already.”

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