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Concordia hosts banquet

2011 Mr. and Miss Concordia winners Russell Elser and Percella Hudson enjoy a happy moment as king and queen during the school’s Presidential Banquet to honor the class of 2015 Thursday evening. -- Desiree Taylor

Dignitaries, special guests, students and staff gathered inside Concordias Julius and Mary Jenkins Center Thursday for its Presidential Banquet, making it a night fit for kings — and — queens.

Concordia staff honored hundreds of incoming students with medals and crowned the 2011 Mr. and Miss Concordia, Russell Elser and Percella Hudson. Concordia president the Rev. Tilahun M. Mendedo and Selma Mayor George Evans, who commended the work of the school, also addressed the audience with special, endearing remarks.

“This banquet is very special because it’s a new day for Concordia,” Mendedo said. “We would like to celebrate this joy with our new students. It’s a banquet to celebrate joy and beauty, time together and vision for the future — it’s a banquet not only for Concordia, it’s a banquet for Selma.”

Hudson, a native of Illinois and Elser, a native of Florida, both felt their crowning moment was an exciting one.

“It feels great … it’s a big experience,” Hudson said. “I know I will succeed in it with God on my side … I’m really happy.”

And as the first caucasian to snag the title at Concordia, a historically black and Lutheran institution, Elser said he feels like he’s made history.

“It’s kind of hard to believe, because I never thought I’d come to Concordia,” he said.

The program culminated with a message of “expanding the circle of Christ” from New York native and newly inducted chairman of the board of regents for Concordia, the Rev. Dien Ashley Taylor.

“In the middle of the word ‘God’ is a circle, and from the beginning of time that circle extended,” Taylor said. “In his mercy, grace and love he expands the circle. The circle has no beginning and no end … the circle’s existence and identity depends on the center.

“We’re not here to survive, we’re here to thrive and see how God will use us to expand this circle,” Taylor said. “Concordia, stretch out and reach for the stars … you’re here to be a part of the greatest mission …”
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