Magicians club’s Magic Extravaganza

Vedrana Damjanović

Sophomore, Public relations major

Photo: Austin Baucom, a sophomore biochemical engineering major, shakes his card to let the magic work, while Justin Le, a freshmen microbiology major, mixes a deck of cards to find the right one Saturday evening at student magician’s fundraiser show.
Photo: Austin Baucom, a sophomore biochemical engineering major, shakes his card to let the magic work, while Justin Le, a freshmen microbiology major, mixes a deck of cards to find the right one Saturday evening at student magician’s fundraiser show.

And when least expected, the card appeared in a shoe. Abracadabra!

Cards, envelops, magician tricks with mind-reading and prediction, as well as other magic tricks performed by student Magicians club’s Magic Extravaganza, entertained a small group of students who came Saturday evening to support a charity fundraiser magic show.

While University’s McCarty Hall A and weekend night might deter some, the community service they do makes an impact on the lives of those in need. The student Magician’s club organized a fundraiser show to support pediatric cancer research at UF.

The entrance was free, but donations were more than welcome.

Nick Pasternack, a junior in behavioral and cognitive neuroscience at UF, founded the club a year and a half ago. He started doing magic when he was very young.

“When I came here (UF), I was wondering if there is a place in a hospital or maybe a nursing home where I could perform magic as a volunteer activity,” Pasternack said.  “I couldn’t find a good way of doing it, so I contacted the hospital myself and founded the club.”

The club consists of about 24 members, with five core members who perform magic. They do various voluntary performances in special needs schools and at UF Shands’ pediatric center.

Justin Le, a UF freshman in microbiology, specializes in doing tricks with cards. He said he joined the club because it sounded like something fun to do and an interesting activity to add to his résumé.

“The biggest joy is watching people react to my performances,” Le said. “It really makes me enjoy what I do.”

Le also said he is satisfied with how the club is doing, but he wishes it had more members.

Austin Baucom, a sophomore in biochemical engineering, came for the first time to see the magician’s club performances. He said he supports the cause of the fundraising.

“I am really for that. My mom will be done with chemo in a couple of weeks,” Baucom said.  “She just had breast cancer and surgery.”

Motivated to contribute to pediatric cancer research at UF, members of student Magician’s club hope to make fundraising events like this a semesterly or yearly event. Pasternack decided to support pediatric cancer research because he thinks “that’s an area that needs more funding.”

Pasternack said he enjoys performing magic. Founding a club and visiting Shands’ pediatric center every other Friday changed his perception of magic.

“Some people may think of magic as silly or immature, but I think it really depends on who’s doing it and for what purpose,” Pasternack said.  “It really gave my magic performance a new meaning to do it for the patients at Shands, especially the pediatric unit. For them it’s not immature. You are making a difference, and it’s really meaningful for me to see that.”

Students interested in learning magic tricks and performing for children in need are welcome to join the club, as well as their Facebook group. For more information, contact Nick Pasternack at napasternack@ufl.edu.

Let the magic bedazzle you.

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