Bartlett High’s got talent, and it’s magical
A packed house heard some of Bartlett High School’s finest teenaged talents Friday night, as the R.O.S.E.S. club hosted its annual talent show, a scholarship fundraiser, at the school’s auditorium. From beat-boxing to drum solos, soaring songs and magic tricks, the 16 competitors delivered solid entertainment.
"It was very, very exciting to see a full house, because the presales were moving a little slow," said club founder, sponsor and Bartlett High English teacher Shoneisha Myers. "It was really exciting to see the house fill up and see people come on out and support us like that. This year was probably one of the best turnouts we’ve had."
Winners who took home trophies were:
- First place: Adam Dawidow, who performed magic. It was his second year to walk away with the top prize.
- Second place: Janiyah Cadney and Salem Moss, who sang a duet
- Third place: Emma Rink, who sang a solo
Myers praised all the participants but added about the first-place winner, "It’s just such a unique talent and I think it just kind of stands out from the rest."
Dawidow, 15 and a sophomore at Bartlett High, said he was honored and happy to take first place, although that wasn't his real focus. "I didn't really care about winning, being more of a performer mindset. I wanted to get up there and entertain the people. I love the stage."
He's been performing sleight-of-hand tricks for about three years and believes he will continue it as a hobby.
He praised the talent show's audience as exceptional. "They were very responsive and very respectful. That's not something you always see at a high school performance."
In addition to the top three performers, other participants included:
- Noah Wiggs, beatbox
- Jonah Stafford, solo
- Josh Rook, drums
- Tyler Brown, solo
- Amilia Putnam, piano solo
- Mitch Dillenbeck, guitar solo
- Grant Rainey, guitar solo
- Skyler Talley, drums
- Silas Yeomen, guitar solo
- Julie Vegara, solo
- Alayna McCarthy, ukelele and singing
- Maria Le, piano
- José Rodriguez, beatbox
R.O.S.E.S. stands for Respectful, Optimistic, Successful, and Educated Students. They work to impact their circle in a positive way, Myers said. The ripple effect of positivity extends to friends, family, the campus and the wider community. They work the entire year to pay for the scholarships granted to selected seniors in the club.
The club attracts great kids who are high-caliber students, in Myers’ view. "That’s my goal, to have those kids who just want to have that standard of behavior for themselves. They may or may not be the straight-A kids, but they’re going to be those kids with the high character."
She relishes her role with the club, which she started six years ago. She gets a chance to connect with students and serve as a friendly mentor outside of their studies. "I think it’s great for them to have that connection with a teacher outside of the classroom that’s not a classroom thing," she said. "I’m like a school mama."
The club members work year-round to raise money to give scholarship to their school’s applicants. Last year alone, they granted two $1,000 scholarships. Recipients must have been an active member of R.O.S.E.S. for at least one year in order to apply. They also must be already accepted to a trade school or some other type of post-secondary education.
The scholarship focuses on students who have had a big impact on their school and their community through their own efforts and the efforts of R.O.S.E.S., Myers said. A panel of four teachers read and rate the applications. She anticipates this year will have more applicants than usual because of the number of seniors in the club, so they will continue fundraising after the talent show, their biggest event of the year.
Myers estimated that they will have raised about $1,000 from this event alone after they account for buying participants' t-shirts, concessions, food for the participants and prizes. The club also does other fund-raisers such as a pancake breakfast and holiday observances, and they perform service projects throughout the year.
One of last year's scholarship recipients, Emily Boyer, recalls how much difference the $1,000 funding made for her first year in college. The money helped her pay for a semester's worth of costly college textbooks.
"I was really happy, because as many scholarships as I can get is good for me because I go to a private college," she said.
Boyer, now 18, is a social work major attending Union University in Jackson, Tenn., and she plans to be either a family/marriage counselor or a geriatric counselor. She made the dean's list during her first semester, too.
Belonging to R.O.S.E.S. was also a great thing for her high school life. It brought her out of her shell and helped her become more interactive with others.
"The first year I joined R.O.S.E.S., I made two best friends, and I'm still in touch with them," she said.
Myers recalls the same thing about Boyer's experience in R.O.S.E.S. She saw the girl in class as a quiet freshman who just needed something to be a part of.
"She joined R.O.S.E.S., and you could just see her blossom," Myers said. "You could see it was her thing."
She continued, "She is, for me, why I have R.O.S.E.S., for those kids who need that support to get plugged in and find a way to feel a part of the community. It just does my heart good."
Judges for the talent show were Sara Ray, choir teacher at Bartlett Ninth Grade Academy; Valerie Allison, French teacher at the Academy and Bartlett High; Bradley Willliamson, math teacher at Bartlett High; Candice Jones, family and consumer science teacher at Bartlett High; and Miranda Reyes, guidance counselor at the academy.
Businesses that supported the talent show included Discount Trophies Inc., which donated the talent show’s three trophies; Talkin’Frogs Print Shop of Bartlett, which printed the group’s T-shirts at a low cost; and Little Italy Bartlett, which provided free food for the event’s judges and discounted pricing for feeding the participants pizza.