Howard’s 84th Miss Howard University, Cecily Davis, successfully won 1st runner-up in The Miss National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame. She was also awarded a $500 cash prize for her commitment to service and her contributions to the community.
On the weekend of Sept. 21, the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame, or NBCAHOF, hosted their annual weekend fundraiser. This three to four day event brings spotlight to HBCUs by providing a platform for students, alumni, faculty and staff to sharpen their skills and maximize their potential through workshops, seminars and programs. Some of the weekend’s events include a competition of HBCU College Queens, an HBCU Invitational Golf Tournament and an HBCU Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.
Growing up in Atlanta, Georgia, musical arts wasn’t anything new to Cecily Davis by the time she stepped foot on campus as a freshman. With her mom working as an orchestrator director, she grew up in a musical family. She started playing the violin at the age of four. Shortly after, she started singing and dancing for the choir and praise team for her church. With her first theater performance at the age of six, by the time Cecily was 12-years-old she was being paid to professionally perform in front of audiences.
Cecily Davis spoke on her early beginning in musical theater and what made her start her journey.
“Around the age of six or seven, I knew I was very extraverted and animated so I was like let me go make some money off this,” Cecily said jokingly.
Even with an early start in theater, the nerves and anxiety that come with performing in front of audiences of thousands of people can still be terrifying to any performer. However, Cecily’s ultimate preparation for her role and her belief in God is what puts her at ease come performance time.
“Through my matriculation here at Howard, I’ve learned that nerves come from a sense of anxiety when you are underprepared. If I want to be true to the character I’m playing, then I have to do away with my own personal issues and become a vessel to tell the story,” Davis said. “One thing I do before any type of performance is pray. I am a woman of faith and I know that I walk by faith and not by sight. God gives me the strength to persevere.”
In addition to her faith, Cecily’s self-belief is what truly stands out. In high school, she excelled in all classes. She loved mathematics, social studies, science and language arts. But at the time she declared musical theater as her future career, the character trait of self-belief is what made her stay on the path that she is on today.
“When I went to college, a lot of my old teachers from high school asked me why would I go to the arts? Why would you waste your intelligence? But I knew in my heart that theater was my passion,” Davis said, speaking on the importance of self belief and encouraging young Black women to stay the course. “Beyond the crown, beyond the title, I am really passionate about these things. I really want to make a change and want to make sure people are following their aspirations and dreams.”
Michael Wright, a nursing major and Mr. College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences, has seen the self-belief Cecily possesses from the beginning of their friendship. He was in awe of her passion and her commitment to the vision she sets out for herself.
“I’ve never really met someone as driven and passion-fueled as Cecily before meeting her. Cecily showed her true self but it was with the ambition and passion behind it,” Wright said. “She did a great job of knowing what she wanted and what she had to do to get there. I think that’s very admirable to anyone to know what it looks like to go after what you want.”
Fellow crown holder, the 46th Mister Howard University, Rashan Schoffner was in attendance at the event. Schoffner, a senior TV and Film major photography minor, recounted witnessing the powerful passion Cecily puts into her work and the raw emotion she exudes.
“I really wanted to cry because that’s just how much she moved me. The video was powerful but being in the room; it was extremely powerful. I’m just so proud of her,” Schoffner said.
Cecily has even taken her talents behind the screens to co-produce Heathers, the first student produced musical at Howard’s campus, as well as the first all Black cast of the musical.
“I’m with it all,” Davis said while speaking on the possibility of producing her own musicals in the future. “Whatever God says to do I will never say no.”
Copy edited by Jadyn Barnett