Mount Aloysius College has been notified by the National Association of Division III Athletics Administration and Jostens Community Service awards that its participation in the recent “Night to Shine” has earned it an honorable mention Award. This is only the second time a college from the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference has earned this recognition.
The Award acknowledges the Mount’s student-athletes, faculty and staff volunteer support during “The Night to Shine” dance event in February of 2016. The awards program recognizes projects in three categories: onetime projects, an array of projects, and ongoing projects. Mount Aloysius won for the onetime projects category.
Mount Aloysius participates in the NCAA Division III field. The NCAA represents 1,281 institutions in the country, and Division III is the largest division, representing 450 institutions, 40 percent of the NCAA. Mount Aloysius president Tom Foley represents the Northeast United States on the 18-member Presidents’ Council of the NCAA.
“Night to Shine” is a national effort sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation that helps special needs young adults, 16 and older, have an unforgettable prom experience. Each year, proms across the country are held for thousands of honored guests. Last year there were more than 200 host churches in 48 states and eight countries. Mount Aloysius College student-athletes volunteered at the prom, held at the Emmanuel Baptist Church in Johnstown, PA.
Brianna Baker, Mount Aloysius College’s athletic program coordinator, helped organize Night to Shine. “I felt compelled to do this event because it was so meaningful,” said Ms. Baker, “and I knew it was something that our student-athletes would want to participate in. The organizers of the event from the church were so passionate about what they were doing that it made me want to help even more. It was the first time that they did an event like this at that church,” she said.
Mountie student-athletes volunteered as prom buddies. They were paired with an honored guest and spent the evening with them. Mounties were also visible helping out parking cars, shining shoes and assisting with the many activities that made the night special. Their work also included styling hair, applying makeup, straightening neckties, escorting guests down the red carpet, sharing dinner, dancing, karaoke, limo rides, a photo booth, and caricatures. At the end of the event, all the honored guests were crowned kings and queens. The event involved student-athletes and several coaches from the 14 NCAA Division III sports at Mount Aloysius, including members of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee.
“It was amazing to see how excited the students were for this event,” said Baker, who also serves as head coach for the Mount Aloysius College women’s volleyball team. “There was training that was needed beforehand and mandatory meetings and paperwork and all of our student-athletes completed these tasks in a very timely manner. The church officials were really impressed with all their dedication and punctuality. I think that everyone who attended that evening was affected in different ways. It was amazing to observe Mount Aloysius student-athletes in this role, to see how they shared their love and compassion for their ‘prom buddies.’"