Students’ booming and beautiful voices filled the brisk air on the Orange Coast College Starbucks patio earlier this month.

As the sun began to cower behind the clouds, participants of OCC’s Open Mic Night came out in full force with motivational speeches and inspirational performances. Some of the musical pieces being played were original works put together by the students.

With the help of her accordion, 25-year-old Marlena Hendrick, majoring in music, made it clear she was not afraid of the spotlight.

“It’s really fun to perform in front of people. I love it,” Hendrick said.

Not everyone has the abundant confidence that Hendrick possesses.

“I still get the adrenaline, but it’s not debilitating. What I tell myself is if this feeling was a drug, people would pay for this feeling, so I roll with it,” Hendrick said.

Open Mic Night is one of many events OCC has been putting on in an effort to increase student activity and interaction on campus.

Among the crowd of spectators was Diana Lopez, a 27-year-old chemistry major.

“I had no idea what I was in for. I’m not sure how it was in past years, but it seems like it turned out pretty well,” Lopez said.

Anyone who decided to stop by and watch some performances was treated to free beverages and snacks, which was not a bad idea to draw the attention of passing college students.

Not every student was there to sing or perform. Lee Ishii, a 19-year-old film major, opted to give a slice of life speech.

To say that Ishii is a positive outgoing person would be an understatement at best.

Ishii is part of the LGBT community, was diagnosed with type one diabetes at age 16, and was born with cerebral palsy, a brain condition that affects body movement and muscle coordination.

However, Ishii does not plan on letting these circumstances get the better of him.

“Even if you go through things that might not be great and people look down on you for some reason, whether it a disability, whatever it is, you can still do things and you can still be great,” Ishii said.

Open Mic Night allowed people like Ishii and Hendrick to shine in the spotlight and show how far a little courage can go.

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