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Youth Council Talent Show allows students to embrace community

WORTHINGTON -- A few hours before Oscar night Sunday, more than 40 Worthington youths were on stage starring in special performances of their own.

The ninth annual Worthington Youth Council Talent Show took place in Memorial Auditorium and Performing Arts Center, attracting varieties of entertainment such as signing, dancing and even Tae Kwon Do.

"I've got to say, it's different to be in front of people on stage," Prairie Elementary student Logan Waldner said after his martial arts demonstration. "For a new belt, there's less people, and they're people you know."

Rhonda Brandt, District 518 Youth Development Coordinator, is the advisor to Worthington Youth Council, which is composed of students in grades 6-12. The council's mission is to offer community service projects to kids for volunteering. Members participate in Community Service Day, assist with the Christmas Basket and Senior Spring Fling programs and help with various after-school programs, she explained.

"About nine years ago, we were just brainstorming ideas around and one student said, 'Let's have a talent show,'" Brandt said. "It's basically evolved from there."

A total of 17 acts participated in this year's show. About 30 acts pre-registered to be part of the show, Brandt said, but some dropped out and about five others were cut during an audition process.

"We try to keep it around 16 or 17," she added. "We award prize money, and Worthington Optimists donate funds to cover the costs of our prizes."

A pizza party fund-raiser also follows the event. Proceeds are donated to Dollars for Scholars.

"It's a nice way for students to advocate themselves," said Jan Larson, an adult advisor of the talent show. "They usually give around $350."

Sunday's entertainment began with the younger performers, as a group of four girls stepped away to the Cheetah Girls' "Girl Power." The quartet took the stage with a bit of adversity -- two substitutes were recruited at the last minute -- but for Theresa Keodouangsy, Alina Keodouangsy, Maggie Malathip and Janie Theppalad, the motto "The Show Must Go On" certainly applied.

"I think some of us were nervous, but we did pretty good," Malathip, a fifth-grader, said.

"With a little more practice, we could've done a little better," added Theppalad, a fourth-grader.

Fifth-grader Gordy Moore played the French horn and was accompanied by his mother, Jane. He was back in the talent show after playing piano in it a year ago.

"I really wanted to be in band and in orchestra, too," said Moore, who is now in both groups at Prairie Elementary. "Next year, I might play viola."

Four middle school acts followed eight performances from Prairie Elementary students, and the show closed with five numbers from high-schoolers. A duet with junior Brandon Roth and senior Kelsey Toso was second-to-last on the program.

"We're in Trojan Express together ... so we decided to sing together here," Toso said. She was a newcomer to the talent show, but Roth said he had performed two years ago as well as several years previously, when he did magic tricks on stage.

"I'm actually hoping to go into performing arts when I go off to school," Roth said.

WHS seniors Hannah Hass, Tim Kroll and Kimberly Hibma combined to serve as master of ceremonies for the show.

Ryan McGaughey

I first joined the Daily Globe in April 2001 as sports editor. I later became the news editor in November 2002, and the managing editor in August 2006. I'm originally from New York State, and am married with two children.

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