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What an extravaganza!

Students wow family, friends as they showcase their talents


The Young Generation, all sixth-graders who were students together at Duval Elementary Fine Arts Academy, perform.

BRAD MCCLENNY/Special to the Guardian
Published: Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 20, 2010 at 3:02 p.m.

Fifteen contestants in elementary, middle and high school wowed the audience with awesome talent and inspired performances at the first Youth Talent Extravaganza.

The contestants were selected following several auditions conducted by Evelyn Foxx and Diyonne McGraw, event organizers and members of the Martin Luther King Jr. Commission of Florida Inc., which sponsors the King Celebration each year.

Nearly 175 guests, mostly family and friends of the performers, attended the talent extravaganza held last Friday at the King Center.

In his greetings, Rodney J. Long, president and founder of the King Commission, said the event served to showcase local talent in elementary, middle and high school.

"We're trying to engage the young people as much as we can," Long said. "We're trying to empower our youth to live the dream and preserve the legacy."

The invocation was delivered by the Rev. Adrian Weeks, chaplain of the King Commission. The emcee was Julius Long, a senior at FAMU and the owner of J. Long Productions, an entertainment company. Julius Long, also Rodney Long's youngest son, peppered his presentation with words of encouragement, praise to God, and advice about staying in school and going to college.

All of the contestants received T-shirts and certificates of participation. The first-place winner in each category received $200 and the runner-ups in each category received $50.

In the elementary school category, all three contestants sang gospel, pop, or a capella. Winners were:

First place: Danielle Lumpkins, a third-grader at The Rock School.

Second place: Carla Washington, a fifth-grader at Duval Elementary Fine Arts Academy. Third place: Jasmine Fleming, a third-grader at Duval.

In the middle school category, the contestants performed rap, solos, and played instruments, such as the piano and the violin. They are:

First place: The Heartbeats of God, aka brothers Tavian Nembhard, a fifth-grader at P.K Yonge Developmental Research School, and Blair Nembhard, a seventh-grader at Kanapaha Middle School. Second place: Joni Perkins, a sixth-grader at Mebane Middle School in Alachua.

Third place: The Young Generation, which consisted of Brandon Parker, a sixth-grader at P.K. Yonge ; Keiyesa Parker, a sixth-grader at Sweetwater Branch Academy; Rakira Clark, a sixth-grader at Lincoln Middle School; Latanya Herbert, a sixth-grader at Lincoln, and Sarai Boyle, a sixth-grader at Howard Bishop Middle School.

Other middle school contestants included Angel Young and the group, The Generation of Decision.

The following were winners in the high school category:

First place: Terrance Bryant.

Second place: Tyler Alexander, a senior at Buchholz High School.

Third place: Bianka Sanders, a 10th-grader at Eastside High School.

Other high school contestants included Boswell, Cortez McCabe, Anquetta Carr and Timesha Carr.

Throughout the event, special entertainment was provided by rappers DJX, Get Loose Boyz, and Blaze Boys of Tallahasse.

The event garnered high praise from the audience.

"The sponsors did a very good job," Sonya Pringle said. "The judges were very fair, and the kids were very talented."

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