Martin Luther King Jr. Society celebrates student leaders with elegant evening

December 13, 2023
Isabella Paredes Mendoza '24
Photos by Sophie Burt ’26

On Dec. 3, the Martin Luther King Jr. Society hosted its first elegant evening with a formal dinner accompanied by an awards ceremony that celebrated students on their campus and community involvement. The event took place in the Roy Room and welcomed 170 people. Students, staff, and faculty enjoyed food, music, raffles, and an exciting awards ceremony in celebration of community and belonging. The Martin Luther King Jr. Society executive board consists of Christine Dossou ’25 (president), Kaltuma Ibrahim ’25 (vice president), Damien Wortheim ’26 (international representative), Jacob Duniver ’24 (treasurer), and Darrel “DY” Yepdo ’26 (marketing representative).

Martin Luther King, Jr. Society Formal See a gallery of photos by Sophie Burt ’26

The idea started as a “Friendsgiving” but Yepdo said there was more interest than expected, which encouraged the club to increase the scale of their event.

“We realized there are so many students that could benefit from a community-building experience like this,” Dossou said. “We decided to make it bigger and open it up to everyone on campus.”

What started as a small-scale idea, grew into an event that received more than 100 RSVPs and more than 30 nominees.

“We heard that people have been dying for a formal event to dress up at for a long time,” Wortheim said.

The motivation behind the event was to celebrate students’ accomplishments, and at the same time, build a deeper sense of belonging for students of color.

“The main purpose for this event was to help develop a sense of belonging for students of color,” Dossou said. “In an emergence of culture and community, we thought this would be a great opportunity to get all students involved.”

The executive board wanted to offer a supportive space that acknowledged student efforts and recognized individuals who make significant contributions to the college.

Photo by Sophie Burt ’26

“The purpose of this event was to create a safe space for students of different ethnicities so that they can enjoy an event that welcomed them and celebrated their accomplishments within this community,” Yepdo said.

The main caterers for food were Dossou’s family and Asian Bistro, a local restaurant. Sarom’s Cafe, Everest, and Bliss Bee also provided food.

Dossou said, “The whole night was my favorite. I enjoyed every part of it. My absolute favorite was giving out the awards and celebrating students for their commitment to our community.”

Yepdo said the best part of the night for him was when everybody received their gifts and moved onto the dancefloor. Ryan Hay ’19 from the College’s community service organization, MOVE, led the dances while Yepdo was on the mic and DJing.

“This is the first time that the MLK Jr. Society has hosted a formal event with awards, and we are excited to host it again,” Yepdo said.

With the success of the event, the executive board is hoping to start an annual tradition at Saint Michael’s. Wortheim said, “We are going to try to pull this together again next year, this time even bigger!”

Photo by Sophie Burt ’26

Award Winners

Emerging Leader Award: This award will go to a student who has demonstrated exceptional leadership skills in their student organization, club or sport.

Cameron Michael ’24

Christine Dossou ’25

Outstanding Community Service: This award will go to a student who has made significant contributions to their community and others through their volunteer efforts.

Lesley Rivera ’25

Abraham Kanda-Olmstead ’25

Yamuna Turco ’25

Athletic Sportsmanship: This award will go to a student who has demonstrated exceptional athletic abilities and sportsmanship.

Abby Farrington ’25

Jacob Duniver ’24

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: This award will go to a student who strives to promote diversity and inclusion in their community.

Juneau Rich ’24

Cameron Michael ’24

Student Mentor of the Year: This award will go to a student who has mentored and helped students to succeed through their volunteer efforts.

Jenna Walker ’24

Christine Dossou ’25

Lauren Best ’24

International Student Community Service Award: This award will be given to an International Student that has made significant contributions to the community through volunteering.

Olivier Niyonshuti ’25

Isabella Paredes Mendoza ’24

Sunshine Award: This award will go to a student that is always willing to help others and make others feel welcomed in our community.

Amy Hylen ’25

Wilson Zehyoue ’25

Kindness Counts Award: This award will go to a student that inspires, is selfless, has a positive impact on others and is a leader for others.

Tulasha Pradhan ’25

Jenna Walker ’24

Amy Hylen ’25

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