Local students compete in Z-Man talent show

Find out why students from David Douglas and Parkrose High Schools entered this regional talent show, sponsored by a police organization …

On the big stage at the “Talent Within” competition, held in outer East Portland, is Kaitlan Kaiser from Barlow High School.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

High School students from all over the greater Portland area converged in the main auditorium of City Bible Church, on the slope of Rocky Butte, on the evening of May 20, to compete in a talent contest sponsored by the “Z-Man Scholarship Foundation”.

After his death in January 27, 2008, the community work spearheaded by highly regarded Portland Police Bureau officer Mark Zylawy has been carried on through the nonprofit foundation, said Sgt. Hank Hays, coordinator of the fourth annual “Talent Within” competition.

Z-Man Scholarship Foundation Executive Director Jenelle Clinton has a light moment with competition coordinator Sgt. Hank Hays.

“This is the best talent we have ever seen”, mused Hays, as he watched the dress rehearsal on the evening before the show.

“We have acts from 15 schools in the metro area, competing for a total of $8,000 in college scholarships,” Hays told East Portland News.

The winner of each school’s talent show goes on to participate in this competition, Hays explained. “The schools are really excited about this program; and, we’re excited about the opportunity to help a student go to college, and perhaps to pursue a career in the performing arts.”

Performing her “Adele mash-up” medley is Vivian Vu, representing David Douglas High School.

The entry from David Douglas High School was sophomore Vivian Vu, who commented, “My talent is singing, and I’m going to sing an Adele mash-up.”

She plays the flute in the school’s band, but isn’t in their choir, she said.

“It’s important for me to come here tonight because it’s a chance for me to show off my talent,” Vu said. “Usually I don’t do that very much at school; most people don’t know that I sing.”

Although nervous, she said she was looking forward to the experience. “I’ve never performed on such a professional stage, in a show like this. It’ll be fun.”

Parkrose High School senior Delenn Sandy performs a number from the popular Broadway show, “Hamilton”.

The delegate representing Bronco spirit, at Parkrose High, was Delenn Sandy.

“At our talent show, I didn’t expect to win,” Sandy said. “That was a bit of a surprise to me; I usually don’t win stuff. I think I won because I had a lot of fun doing my performance. I’m glad that it energizes people, and they are enthusiastic along with me.”

She thought it odd that, after winning the Parkrose talent competition, people asked her if she’d written the song she performed – “My Shot” from the wildly popular Broadway musical Hamilton. “I’ll not take credit for writing it; the person who wrote it is a genius,” Sandy said.

Her performance started with her standing on stage, and ended with her standing high on a crate. The audience clapped and cheered her performance.

Afterward, Sandy said she’d advise potential future participants, “Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Plan it, really rehearse, and then just have a good time. The most important thing is to get an emotional response from the audience.  If they’re invested in getting in what you do, that’s what really matters.”

The Franklin Breakers, from the temporary Marshall Campus of Franklin High in the Lents neighborhood, show their hip-hop dance skills.

All of the acts displayed exceptional talent.

“I’m glad I don’t have to pick the winner,” Hays said after watching all of the acts. “It’s going to be difficult for the judges to select the winners this year.”

East Portland schools’ acts didn’t win this year, but they were facing very strong competition:

1st place, $5,000, Lara Evans from Lincoln High for her original song, singing, and piano;
2nd place, $2,000, the smooth, professional jazz combo “Soulstice” from Gresham High; and,
3rd place, $1,000, for an original yo-yo act synchronized to music by Odon Alberto Jr from Tualatin High.

Learn more about the “Z-Man Scholarship Foundation” by visiting their official website: CLICK HERE.

On our Front Page: Madison of “Soulstice” from Gresham High sings.

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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