If you’ve ever put yourself out there on stage, alone, then you can imagine what was going through the minds of the grade finalists at the “Durham’s Got Talent” competition.
Third grader Jayda Cox, who came in first, has not danced for very long. Her mother said Jayda took ballet class when she was 6 and is currently in the ballet class offered at Durham Elementary.
However, Jayda put together a routine to “Mary, Did You Know?” because she felt she could express the meaning of the song to reach people.
“I was straight shook,” Jayda told her mom. “But I took a deep breath and did my best.”
Durham has done a spring play in years past. This year, through the leadership of its parent organization, principal Amy Poerschke said the school decided to try something new — a school-wide talent show.
“I loved the idea of including our parents and teachers as well,” Poerschke said. “One of the reasons I was excited to support this event was my own memories from my elementary school talent show. A group of friends and I sang passionately to one of the Spice Girls’ hits. These are the magical moments of elementary school, so we are always open to trying something new.”
There were 30 acts from the community and students that participated in the initial round. Nine finalists were selected in each participating category: pre-K, kindergarten, first through fifth grades, parent/community and teacher/staff. The finals were held at the Frank Black Middle School auditorium, with judges recruited from the community.
One of the judges was Autumn Rosemond from Houston Dance Works.
“I was really impressed by the level of talent, the creativity and the diversity of talent fields,” Rosemond said. “It was really refreshing to see students in their element doing what they love and seeing parents and teachers set an incredible example of creativity and confidence by sharing their talents, too.”
At the finals, along with Jayda Cox’s performance, Durham parent Roslyn Allen sang “If I Ain’t Got You,” pre-K student Durham Galla played “Good Morning” on the piano, kindergartener Tex Treadway performed a comedy routine, first grader Charlotte Jaeger did the hoverboard shuffle to “Best Day of My Life,” second graders Presley Adkins and Gaby LeBlanc danced to “Youngblood,” fourth grader Henry Field put on a magic act and fifth grader Timothy Allen sang “Who’s Loving You?” The second grade teachers, who called themselves Dino Dancers, rounded out the evening to much applause.
Allen, who placed third, first sang in public at Durham’s Black History Program two years ago and went on to participate in school plays, giving him the confidence to participate. Field, who placed second, got a magic set two Christmases ago and started practicing on friends and family in earnest once he decided to enter the show.
“It was fun to see students, parents and teachers letting loose and having some fun showcasing our talents,” Poerschke said. “My favorite memory of this year’s talent show were the small exchanges between students demonstrating encouragement, care and support for one other. I observed hugs, high fives and uplifting words between acts and after the shows. While the talent shows did have ‘winners’, I believe all of our participants felt a sense of accomplishment sharing their talent with their grade level and school community.”