Official student newspaper of Alabama State University

The Hornet Tribune

Official student newspaper of Alabama State University

The Hornet Tribune

Official student newspaper of Alabama State University

The Hornet Tribune

Evening Out Formal Wear
Heritage Barbershop

University makes history with inaugural Hive Awards for students

Justin B. Freeman
Student Government Association President Landon Hale (L) and Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Malinda Wilson Swoope, Ph.D., award Tyrin Moorer (c) the University Ambassador of the Year Award during the first presentation of the Hive Awards.

History was made when Alabama State University hosted the inaugural Hive Awards, a celebration honoring excellence in innovation, community impact and academic achievement. Student leaders, faculty members, administrative staff and fellow students joined together on Apr. 26, in the Dunn-Oliver Acadome for the special event.

The ceremony enticed guests to dress in formal and dressy attire, setting the stage for an evening of elegance. With doors opening at 6 p.m., attendees had to present their student identifications for entrance, but admission was free of charge.

The event was hosted by influencer Leora Byrd, better known as Queen Leora who has a following of over a million on Instagram. Byrd is also the founder of Kaleidoscope Hair Products.

Byrd was not the only high profile public figure in attendance. Over a dozen musical artists came to perform and entertain, including the Fear Factory Dance Team, rappers Teontae, Bird 2x, and probably most notable, rapper Big Boogie who is best known for his 2021 hit single “Pop Out”.

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The ceremony was the “brainchild” of Landon Hale, president of the Alabama State University Student Government Association. According to Hale, the purpose of the Hive Awards was to celebrate and highlight all of the accomplishments of the university’s student body this academic year.

“The Awards Show concept had always been an idea but never executed,” Hale said. “… this is a way to show appreciation to the student body.”

During the ceremony, a total of 12 categories were unveiled, each intended to represent a unique facet of achievement and contribution within the Alabama State University community. The categories were selected in collaboration with the SGA and Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Malinda Swoope, Ph.D. The nominees were selected by the President’s Advisory Council.

The categories featured at the ceremony were Outstanding Student Researcher of the Year, Staff Member of the Year, Faculty Member of the Year, Visual and Performing Arts Student of the Year, Outstanding Registered Student Organization, International Student of the Year, University Ambassador of the Year, Graduate Student of the Year, Class of the Year, Senior of the Year, Student-Athlete of the Year, and Emerging Leader of the Year.

Among the distinguished winners were Nyla Weatherington, recognized as the Outstanding Student Researcher of the Year, while Career Services Coordinator Candice Snitchcomb earned the title of Staff Member of the Year for her contributions. Carmela Drake, Ph.D., was honored as Faculty Member of the Year, highlighting her dedication to education and mentorship. In the realm of arts, Faith Blackwell stood out as the Visual and Performing Arts Student of the Year.

The impactful work of Collegiate 100 secured them the title of Outstanding Registered Student Organization, while Chioma Kalu was celebrated as the International Student of the Year. Tyrin Moorer’s commitment to representing the university earned him the distinction of University Ambassador of the Year. Devique McWilliams was lauded as the Graduate Student of the Year, showcasing academic excellence and leadership. The spirited Class of 2024 claimed the title of Class of the Year, while Hope Smith was honored as Senior of the Year. TJ Madlock’s outstanding athletic achievements earned him the title of Student-Athlete of the Year, and Cailin Ward was recognized as the Emerging Leader of the Year, symbolizing promise and potential within the ASU community.

“It feels great to be nominated and voted for by my peers,” Tyrin Moorer, one of the winners, said. “To know that my work and commitment to operate in the spirit of excellence has had such a profound effect on my fellow students. I had support from all classes and even non traditional students. I often say that my work goes outside of 915 South Jackson Street’ but still it’s nice to be recognized here at O’ Mother Dear.”

Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Sabrina Crowder was also a key figure who helped organize the event and bring it to fruition.

“The SGA came up with a format, and the PowerPoint presentation, and they presented it,” Crowder said. “And then from there, a committee was formed by Dr. Swoope where they met with the various people to bring it to life.”

According to Crowder, feedback for the event was overall positive and receptive to the potential of the ceremony.

“The feedback I received is that people liked the concept, but there are some areas on there that we need to work on if we do it next year, and the goal is to do it next year,” Crowder said. “But it’s just we need to work on the performances, and then identify, you know how we’ll go about approving different performances. But the concept of the Hive Awards was well received.”

Crowder continued.

“Well, the ultimate goal is that we are appreciative of all the winners in each category and that, you know, that they’re seen and that we appreciate all the hard work they do on campus.”

From the average student perspective, the consensus was that the event was a success. The Hive Awards not only celebrated excellence but also fostered a sense of community and pride among attendees.

“My favorite part thus far would have to be Xclusive (Xclusive Modeling Troupe),” said junior Eliza Simmons who is also Miss Phi Beta Sigma of the 2024-25. They absolutely did an amazing job on stage. I’m definitely looking forward to the new Hive Awards. It’s definitely something to watch.”

Marlee King, a junior with a major in secondary education and a minor in history, enjoyed the event but had some criticisms.

“My favorite part of the event so far was Fear Factor,” King said. “Yes, it’s definitely my favorite. They always come with it.”

Despite the positives, she is wary of the future of the Hive Awards due to the choice of music.

“Because of everything that’s been going on out there, all the profanity and everything,” King said. “I feel like they could have cleaned it up a little bit more. I feel like they should have set a certain rule for this week.”

Ambria Milton, a junior with a major in pre-health also enjoyed the performance by Fear Factor while expressing criticisms about the vulgarity of the music chosen, believing that a more elegant choice would have sent the event over the top.

“Like, why are y’all talking about … I’m not even going to say what they said,” Milton said. “But if you know, you know. Maybe the next one will be a lot cleaner. I hope they re-evaluate this performance today.”

Alvin Bryant, computer science sophomore and fellow attendee shared a contrasting viewpoint on the event’s entertainment.

“My favorite part about the event is like when my homeboy Bird (Bird 2x) came out and, you know, he performed and stuff like that, you know, let Loverboy get a little time and stuff like that,” Bryant said. “I feel like they will have more of these. You know, it’s going to make an example and make people strive to do better.”

Joshua Anderson, a mechanical engineering freshman, shared his thoughts on the overall experience.

“In this event, for me, it was pretty cool how we got to see who got what award and for what reason,” Anderson said. “And we also got to see artists perform their craft. I hope there are more of these because it was a really good turnout that really brought us together.”

Jakayla Beason, freshman bio pre-health major, delighted in the closing concert with rapper Big Boogie.

“I think my favorite part was all the organizations coming out and really showcasing who they are and what they stand for,” Beason said. “I think we should continue this. This is a great way to bring students and staff members together. And I really like how we all came out and just tonight it did.”

Unlike a few other students, Beason was not bothered by the maturity of the lyrics.

“Because we’re a new generation, it’s going to be a little cussing, so I expected that,” Beason said.

Amaya Rucker, a junior majoring in the communications recording industry, was another student who found the event to be engaging and enjoyable.

“I really do love the fact that they’re now acknowledging students and giving them awards  with the different categories as well, and then the different performances, putting the students on to perform and showing them how to perform and stuff like that. I thought it was really cool,” Rucker said.

She continued.

“My favorite part would probably be my best friend, Faith Blackwell. She won an award. That’s probably my favorite.”

Rucker hopes to see the ceremony become a tradition at the university, but believes that it should be held every other year as opposed to becoming an annual event.

“So then we can tally up more awards and keep a record of more awards, and give out more awards and opportunities,” Rucker said.”

Freshman criminal justice major Caleb Martin also enjoyed the community atmosphere of the event.

“I really liked it. I like the energy,” Martin said. “I like how it really brought everybody together as a class, different classes. I really liked how each organization got a chance to represent themselves for the most part. My favorite part was when we had the different artists come out, like really got a chance to promote their music and promote what they are.”

Martin believes that the event performed well enough to become a beloved tradition at the university.

“I know I noticed a lot of students, they really came out,” Martin said. “They really dressed up for it. So that told me that they really wanted to be a part of it.”

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