Augustana’s Got Talent – Recap


Augustana’s Got Talent (AGT) is an annual talent show held every winter which allows students to showcase their various talents. This year’s edition, which was hosted, as usual, by the Augustana Students’ Association (ASA), was held Saturday, February 27, 2021. Things looked a lot different this year: the talent segments were shown on a screen instead of the usual live show that is conducted in the Peter Lougheed center, but that did not make the event any less exciting!

Any current Augustana student is qualified to enter in order to compete for cash prizes: $1000 for first place, $500 for second place, and $250 for third place. This year, instead of auditioning before a panel of student judges as usually happens, participants were required to submit a video recording of their act by February 19. The host of AGT was Kyra Gustal, a second-year Augustana student who is currently serving on the ASA as one of the second-year representatives. She introduced each contestant, entertained everyone with her quirky, clever comments, and even showed off her cute cat.

The first of three acts was Rhea Nayak, a second-year student from Medicine Hat, Alberta who presented an incredible performance of the song “Never Enough” from the movie musical The Greatest Showman. To quote Kyra Gustal, “[I] could not get enough of her [performance]!” The second contestant was Tessa Palmer, a first-year student who has been singing in choirs since she was four years old. For her performance, Tessa sang a rendition of “Memories,” a song by the band Maroon 5. The talent portion of the show concluded with Racquel Lussier, a first-year student who played the guitar while singing “Driver’s License,” a song by Olivia Rodrigo. Her performance did not include a backtrack–simply her voice accompanied by guitar. It was incredible to learn that Racquel had only started playing the guitar recently in quarantine!

All the participants were adjudicated by Guest Judge David Draper, who is the current Vice President Academic of Student Union of the University of Alberta, who remarked that it was incredibly difficult to pick a winner amongst the three vastly talented participants. Rhea Nayak took away the grand prize, with Racquel Lussier coming in second and Tessa Palmer claiming the third prize. At the end of the show, viewers were given the opportunity to cast a vote for their “fan favourite” performer. Racquel Lussier was announced as the winner several days later on the ASA social media pages.

Hats off to all the contestants for taking part in the first ever virtual edition of Augustana’s Got Talent! So much time and effort must have gone into rehearsing and filming your entries. You all did an amazing job. There is clearly so much talent at Augustana! Thank you to all the contestants for their inspiring performances and to all the viewers for keeping an Augustana tradition alive in a new way during this pandemic year

If you missed the show but would still like to watch all the talented contestants, you can watch the entire pre-recorded show by following this link:

my being wanes as the seasons change


am I lonely,
or am I isolating myself?
my limbs can’t handle this chill that
freezes everything except my tears and
why am I crying again?

how many hours have passed without
a laugh? a hug?
these trembling fingers couldn’t possibly
put me back together.

how can you find the sun if
you’re too weak to crawl out from
the darkness that swallows all
your hope and
why am I crying again?

no one is going to help because
you plaster that smile on your face and
force light into your eyes so
no one will think something’s wrong but
something is.

remember, what freezes will thaw.
don’t be afraid just
be your own sun.

(Originally Published February 5, 2020)



There is a different kind of history which lies in all that we don’t know and never will. It’s a history of imagination in which all of the answers are wrong except for the right ones, but “right” and “wrong” are based only on common beliefs and science that is not yet past its limits. Dinosaurs roared, maybe, but maybe they didn’t, and maybe they also wore socks to keep their feet warm. Neither is proven.

There is the history of space exploration, indeed, and it is written down and recorded in various ways so that it will never be forgotten. It is significant. It is usual history. Perhaps there is also the history of a small girl by the name of Jane who looked up at the stars and said, “I want to go there,” and she spent all seventy three years of her life dreaming about twinkling lights in the night sky; but she never got there.

No, that’s silly. Her name was Faith. Or maybe it was Tessie, or Eloise, or a name I could never think of because I’ve never been to China or Greece. Maybe it was all of them or none of them, or maybe it never happened at all. This is a different kind of history, where the significance of an unrecorded life isn’t considered significant at all. Lots of people dream about the stars, they say. But I want to know who Jane was.

If I put a few words down on this paper, who’s to say it will or it won’t be read in a thousand years? Maybe that’s unrealistic. A few hundred? Could be. Six years? Might someone read it in six years? Sure, and maybe it will only be me. But if Jane had a dream about the stars, we’d never know. If Jane had a dream about the stars and she wrote it down for all the world to read, the world—whoever that is—would have read it. Maybe six years later, maybe seventy four. Jane, and the precise way she saw the stars, would be remembered.

Did dinosaurs wear socks? Maybe only the stars know.

(Originally Published February 5, 2020)



Look at the sky.

Look at the ground.

Look anywhere.

His words echoed in my head. I looked at the sky it was blue, a clear blue. I thought how unfortunate. It didn’t fit the mood. The grass I was standing on was a lush green. Pity that it wasn’t dead, like him.

The sky, the ground, anywhere I looked it was perfect. The day was perfect. The wind was blowing slightly; enough to keep you cool from the sun. The sun was fanning across the open fields enough to keep warm from the breeze.

I looked at where Jacob was standing; he was looking down at the casket staring at his own bed as he was lowered into the ground. His own eyes were confused as he looked up and locked his eyes with me. His lips were pulled into a thin line.

I pulled my gaze away from his and looked at my mother. Her hand was covering her mouth as tears rolled down her cheeks. Her shoulders shook with her sobs. My father was standing stone-faced, anger filled his misted eyes. My older brother’s head was hunched over, his hands trembled as he wiped at his face.

I watched because what else could I do? Crying wasn’t something I was capable of. Not where I was.

I turned my eyes back to Jacob; he had turned his eyes towards his family. The shattered and broken shells they were turning into.

Look at the sky.

Look at the ground.

Look anywhere.

I turned my head to the sky again before finally turning around. There it was. Mine.   

Rosalee Lane Vassberg

August 4th 1999 – December 24th 2017

Look at the sky.

Look at the ground.

Look anywhere.

But not here- that’s what he was trying to say. Look anywhere but not at me, yet I didn’t listen. I looked at him, trying to blink the blood out of my eyes. The stinging was harsh, but I had to see him.

He was worse. His head was bleeding badly, his legs were crushed and his breathing was laboured.

He died there. In front of me, and I followed.

Teenagers, drinks, cars, and blood.

Jacob was looking at me this time when I turned my head towards him. He was crouched by his tombstone. The graveyard held a gloom of sadness, no matter what the weather, it affected us as well. We were always stuck here. Everyone that came here was stuck here.

All the mourners, my family, his family. Everyone was gone.

Snow covered every inch of the ground, dead grass underneath the smooth blankets of white. The dead under the dead grass.

He ran his fingers over his name.

Jacob Becker Leckie

July 24th 1998 – December 24th 2017

Seasons passed summer, fall, winter, and then spring again and then repeat. My family came every week, then every month, and then twice a year. The day I died and the day I was born.

My brother cried over his lost friend and his sister. My mother cried over a lost daughter. My father cried out of anger. He cried over me the most. He cried when no was watching. I was watching. Jacob was watching. Slowly their tears stopped and their words came. Soon those stopped too and only flowers came with empty stares.

And we watched. That’s all we could do. Watch, because, we died.

We left a hole so big in the lives of our loved ones that nothing could fill it, not even time. We lived our life believing that no one cared about us. We lived thinking we were invincible, that nothing could touch us.

But here we were invisible not invincible. Learning that people did care, we were the ones who didn’t care back.

My mother grew old, and died. My father grew old and died. They stood next to us giving us sad smiles. Jacobs’s parents came.

We watched my brother come year after year until finally he never left himself.
Soon no one was giving us flowers.

The life we had, we wasted, and then we faded.

(Originally published December 11, 2019)