A Night of Champions at APU

by Melissa Nicholas '05

The Richard and Vivian Felix Event Center filled with cheering voices, stomping feet, and glowing faces, as junior high and high school students gathered for the 18th annual Night of Champions. The day began at 3:45 p.m. when students arrived for outdoor activities, and when the sun went down, celebrity Christian speakers shared their stories with the audience of more than 4,000 teens.

Night of Champions invites youth from all over Southern California to attend. The program is put on through Azusa Pacific University and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes once a year, and offers testimonials from celebrities, pro-athletes, bands, skateboarders, and even the APU students that volunteer their services for the day. Paige Cassidy, a freshman at APU who was volunteering for her first time, said "It's an amazing opportunity. I don’t know any other school that does something like Night of Champions."

Pro-athletes were excited to tell the crowd their stories behind their accomplishments as champions in motocross, martial arts, and track and field. Two-time Olympic medallist Mark Crear spoke about his hardships growing up and expressed the healing that God did in his own life. Three-time world motocross champion Greg Albertyn emphasized, "Any situation I get into, I can turn to God." Entertainment also included "Men Without Shirts," a humorous collection of skits put on by male APU students.

The day wrapped up with a message from Campus Pastor Chris Brown, and a final performance by Christian rock band All Together Separate. As the many junior high and high school students left the Event Center, they were able to meet the celebrities and band members outside for autographs and pictures.