“America’s Got Talent” finalist and singer Kechi Okwuchi will be speaking for Thursday’s convocation at 11 a.m.
According to the biography on her official website, Okwuchi was a finalist on “America’s Got Talent” in 2017 and was a finalist on “America’s Got Talent: The Champions” in 2019.
Okwuchi released her debut single, “Don’t You Dare,” in 2018, according to her biography, and she is scheduled to release her memoir, “More Than My Scars” on March 29, 2022. She is also working on the release of her self-titled debut album, as stated in the biography on her website.
Vice President for Student Development Dennis Negrón announced the convocation in an email to Southern News.
“This week’s convocation is sponsored by Southern’s Student Association President Josh Esten,” Negrón wrote. “He has invited Kechi Okwuchi, a Nigerian-born woman, currently living in Houston, Texas, to be our speaker. … In 2005, Kechi was one of two passengers who survived a plane crash that took the lives of 107 individuals, many of them [being] her closest friends.
“Kechi suffered third-degree burns on 65% of her body as a result of that accident,” the email continued. “However, she refused to let that fateful day hold her back from her life calling. Kechi has earned an MBA, launched a singing career and [became] a motivational speaker.”
Okwuchi is a burn survivor advocate for several organizations and an ambassador for some such as the Be Strong Global, WEMovement and the United Nations Foundation #TOGETHERBAND project. She is also an advocate of bullying prevention, sustainable living and youth empowerment, according to her website bio.
Esten said he is excited to have Okwuchi speak at convocation.
“Personally, it’s great to have someone like Kechi coming to our campus,” he stated in an email to the Accent. “She is an amazing individual with an unique experience, which she has used to change the lives of numerous of her audiences. … I am ecstatic to have her come to our campus and know that we will be blessed by her message.”
In an interview with the Accent, Okwuchi said she decided to speak at Southern to share her message with college students.
“My focus has always been to reach out to young people,” Okwuchi said. “I always try to use my platform to encourage young people who have gone through, or are going through, challenges or trauma of any kind, visible or invisible, that there is life after trauma and they should never be defined by their scars––visible or invisible.
“My mantra since the accident has been, ‘My scars do not define me,’” she continued. “And I hope that after my speech, they will see that that’s what I live by.”
Isabella Miranda, junior management major, expressed excitement about hearing Okwuchi speak and shared her thoughts in an interview with the Accent.
“I watched her performances on AGT a few years ago, and I was inspired,” Miranda said. “Her story reminded me how lucky and blessed I am. I’m moved by how much faith and thanks she has even though she’s been through so much. I am looking forward to hearing her speak at convo this week.”