D59’s Got Talent Culminates in Successful Fifth Show
For a half-decade, one night has belonged to some of the most creative students at CCSD59. The annual District 59’s Got Talent show is a showcase of music, dance, comedy, ethnic celebrations, and the unexpected.
On Saturday, the fifth installment of this event featured familiar faces and new attractions. Representatives from each elementary and junior high school dazzled with piano and guitar solos, vocal performances, and gymnastics routines. A contortionist display and pogo stick routine were among the first-time acts.
“This year’s show reflected the District 59 community and the students the best,” said Jayne Wilkins-Scott of the District 59 Education Foundation. “We had several acts that celebrated the student’s cultural heritage, from a first grade storyteller who told her tale in Spanish to the Bulgarian folk dancers in full costume. They were so excited and supportive of each other during the show, which always makes me proud.”
The top three award winners were:
1st Place: Youssef El-Yakine, sixth grade student at Grove – Chopin’s “Minute Waltz” on piano
2nd Place: Claire Moon, sixth grade student at Holmes – Chopin’s “Minute Waltz” on piano
3rd Place: Deeksha Adhikary, fourth grade student at Forest View – Indian Dance
Another unique sight was the accompanists chosen by several performers. Barb Novak, of Brentwood Elementary, came on stage to accompany a student during fourth grader Kayla’s rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. Amelia, a fourth grade student at Byrd Elementary, also brought her father on stage to play piano as she sang “Hallelujah”.
The range of talent is just one example of how much the night has evolved over the last five years. As is the case at each event, students from throughout the district created artwork to be featured at the J Theater at Harper College. Nearly every artist attended and was recognized on stage. Anika, another fourth grade student at Brentwood, was among them after her program cover design was chosen from over 100 entries. She earned a trip to the state capitol for a “Day as a Page” with Senator Laura Murphy for this honor.
“This year’s show reflected the District 59 community and the students the best. They were so excited and supportive of each other during the show, which always makes me proud.”
– Jayne Wilkens-Scott
The 2019 event also proved to be the most profitable to date. This year’s proceeds were highlighted by a ten thousand dollar gift from a single donor, bringing the total money raised to over twenty thousand dollars since the event began. Bids on a student artwork and raffle baskets were at an all-time high as well.
School of Rock, Elk Grove Bowl, and the Itasca Country Club also donated gifts and prizes.
“I am grateful to the foundation for all they do for the students – allowing them an outlet for their varied talents while raising money to fund important grants in our schools,” said Moira Burdi of Forest View Elementary. “Their work is very important and has had a lasting impact on our district, our teachers and our students.”
Board of Education members and CCSD59 alumni are regular attendees. Former students and teachers helped set the stage by introducing performers, while one pair of Harper College students, both CCSD59 graduates, volunteered their help for the fifth consecutive show.
That focus and celebration of past and present students is what has allowed this event to gain a reputation. It’s also what makes Wilkins-Scott most eager to see this event grow over another five years.
“With several students returning, it’s clear that there is a pride in being part of this event,” she said. “During rehearsal, those who were back were telling the others about the last time they were in it. That means a lot because the idea from the beginning was to make each one of them be ‘stars’ and to take this experience with them in their hearts the rest of their lives.”