Saturday night was full of emotion for many participants of Sing Song, but perhaps none more than for the members of GATA.
The women’s social club won first place overall in Sing Song for the first time since 1986, when they shared the trophy with the women of Ko Jo Kai. With a chance to break a 34-year losing streak, the women worked hard for much more than just a title.
Under the direction of Macie Liptoi, senior vocational ministry major from Plano, GATA placed first in nearly every category –overall, originality, theme, entertainment, vocals– and fell to second only in appearance.
“It was something indescribably holy and wonderful, and it goes beyond winning Sing Song,” Liptoi said. “We had an opportunity to come together as a sisterhood and do something remarkable. And we just did it.”
The women’s club won it’s ninth Sing Song title, making a comeback from winning second overall last year.
Liptoi said the women worked hard in the practice room not just for themselves or the title, but also to make their alumni and sponsors proud.
GATA president April Young said both active members and alumni couldn’t be happier with the effort the women put into the act.
“History was made this weekend in our sisterhood. Our girls definitely left a legacy for people to be talking about for years to come,” Young, senior social work major from Allen, said. “Our sponsors and alumni are thrilled for us. For them, it’s about carrying on the GATA legacy. We want people to know that GATA is back and on campus to stay for years to come.”
Betsey Craig, a sponsor for GATA for almost 30 years, said she’s been waiting for this since she was a student and in a GATA act herself.
“None of the current GATAs were even alive last time GATA won Sing Song,” Craig said. “It’s been a long time coming and we couldn’t be more excited or more proud. We’ve had a lot of ups and downs over the years, but we’ve worked hard and persevered.”
But the women weren’t just singing, dancing and putting on a Sing Song face for their title or alumni. As part of the Sing Song Give Back program, the social club chose to donate its award money to Christina Ponomarenko, a GATA alumna.
“Our leadership felt strongly about dedicating our show to her because she was standing on the Sing Song stage with us just one year ago,” Young said. “To GATA, it was all about doing something that was bigger than just the 100 of us on stage. We wanted so badly to win for Christina and we were honored to perform on stage for her this weekend.”
Ponomarenko, nursing major from League City, graduated in May 2015 and was recently diagnosed with cancer.
In addition to creating #DiamondsforaCause to bring awareness to Ponomakeno’s diagnosis and ask for prayers, the women of GATA wanted to put all of the winning $1,000 toward paying her medical bills.
“Our biggest motivator was to win for Christina,” Young said. “Sing Song is such an incredible bonding experience for every group. There are highs and lows, but in the end, it’s all worth it because I know I couldn’t have won without my sisters by my side. “
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