Kelley Davis
CCC Journalism Program

In a warmly lit art gallery, a blonde-haired, self-assured woman sits perched on a stool, confidently uttering the words of Walt Whitman to a crowded room. She delivers with poise and a smile.

This woman, Samantha Hitman, has transformed from hiding behind the scenes to welcoming the spotlight.

Alison Green presents Reader's Theatre, Hitman seated Right

Alison Green presents Reader’s Theatre, Hitman seated Right

This night, Camden County College held its first mixed arts event, giving the community an opportunity to view the talents and accomplishments of the students and faculty.

The event incorporated Reader’s Theatre, live music, visual arts and Literature Live.

“This year we attempted to consolidate all of the different arts together into a single festival that would function as a fundraiser for the school, ” said Keith O’Shaughnessy, assistant professor of English.

Marlin Gallery Gallery decorated with Student Art

Marlin Gallery decorated with Student Art

The collaborative effort is the result of the students’ and faculty’s passion, culminating into “a time to celebrate everyone being at their best,” O’Shaughnessy said.

The arts event functions as a way to “try and expand to the community, to showcase the talented students and professors,” said art Professor, Gregory Brellochs.

“In a word, tonight is about outreach. It’s about reaching out to the community,” Brellochs said.

Pottery and Sculpture by Students

Pottery and Sculpture by Students

The reach of the arts at CCC profoundly touched one student, Samantha Hitman, allowing her to experience a personal evolution, she said.

Hitman studied at Montclair State University and The Art Institute of Philadelphia before attending CCC, but never felt comfortable, she said.

Until attending CCC, she was shy, introverted and unsure of herself, she said.

After taking a public speaking class, Hitman decided to challenge herself,

“I thought if I tried out for Reader’s Theatre it would help me break out of my shell and speak like I mean it,” she said.

Since, she has undergone a transformation and recognized her passion— film. She has gained confidence with the help of the faculty, she said.

“Everyone in this department really pushed me and helped me and encouraged me and I got all of these opportunities and I won best film. I wouldn’t have anything probably if it weren’t for going here. I think I would have quit if I hadn’t met them,” Hitman said.

Samantha Hitman displays Film Excellence Award between two mentors and faculty members, Tom Murray and Allison Green

Samantha Hitman displays Film Excellence Award between two mentors and faculty members, Tom Murray and Allison Green

Graduating in May, Hitman looks back on a prolific and acclaimed creative career at CCC.

She has worked on many film projects, including Under Milkwood as Film Coordinator.

This year, she received the Film Excellence Award among others.

One of her mentors, Allison Green, assistant professor of speech, has witnessed her growth.

“She found her passion…and by God she was going to have it her way,” Green said.

“The difference in that shy little girl who wouldn’t put two words together to me, to this woman who stands in front of a whole group and says ‘You’re gonna commit to this, and you’re gonna commit to that…’ And she’s still sweet, lovely and charming but she’s assertive and she’s confident and she’s wreathed in smiles when I don’t think I saw her smile (before),” Green said.

“She’s just blossomed. It’s like all of a sudden a key went in a lock, opened up, and…” she gestures her arms open “…Sam,” she said with an endearing smile.

“Every seed needs a warm, safe, sunshine-filled place to grow” and Hitman found it here, she said.

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