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A Last-Minute Classic

By Christian Valdez

Image from Simpson University Campus Life Instagram page

An exhilarated crowd cheered for more as a Simpson student masterfully delivered his final performance at Night Life.

Mark Balleza is an outdoor leadership major from the Bay Area who is going to graduate next semester. Balleza performed one of the closing acts at Night Life on April 16. Balleza closed the night with a comedy sketch that earned him the People’s Host award in the competition. The outdoor leadership major received an Amazon gift card with the honor.

The air was filled with consistent laughter during Balleza’s performance. It is difficult to accept that this performance almost did not happen. The Bay Area native was gone most of the week traveling for baseball causing him to miss the tryouts for Night Life that took place earlier that week. Sarah Jobson, one of the event coordinators, offered Balleza the opportunity to still perform that Sunday night. Jobson is to thank for helping get Balleza on stage.

The outdoor leadership major had participated in the Night Life event a year prior. Balleza sang the song Traitor by Olivia Rodrigo.

“It was just for giggles, I just sang, and I almost won which is kinda crazy, I didn't even practice, I just went up there,” Balleza said about last year's performance.

Balleza returned to the stage this year with an entirely new act. Balleza did not stray from his methods. He was surprised that he was able to participate.

“I did it all on the fly though and it was last minute,” Balleza said.

The crowd thoroughly enjoyed Balleza’s stand-up comedy sketch as well as the other performances that night. Angelica Hurtado, the assistant director for the TRIO program, was a judge for the event.

“They were all so amazing. It was really neat to see students, staff, faculty, and even our very own president showcase different talents. We had a great variety of comedy, music, dancing, poetic words, etc,” Hurtado said.

The judges rated each act based on four categories. The categories were crowd response, overall talent, overall performance, and creativity according to Hurtado. Belleza definitely excelled in the crowd response category as the students cheered thunderously for him.

“It was fun, I just enjoyed the moment cause you're not gonna have that when you graduate college, I rather just cherish the little things,” said Belleza.

Balleza touches on the beauty of college events in this statement. College does not last forever. Balleza thinks that we should enjoy it while it lasts. Balleza is enjoying his college experience while it lasts. He is definitely appreciating the little things by participating in school events. Maybe we should appreciate our time in college more.

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