Madison student skates to talent show victory

And, see which David Douglas High senior went on to take second place this year’s ‘Talent Within’ competition …

An entertainer competing at the annual outer East Portland talent show is Zaki Kahl from Barlow High School.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The atmosphere in the auditorium was electric as the best high school talent from across Portland gathered for the Z-Man Scholarship Foundation “Talent Within” competition dress rehearsal, on the evening of May 4.

“We’re all excited about the top-notch acts this year, each of whom won their respective school’s talent competition – and each excited to take part in this citywide contest,” said organizer Portland Police Bureau Sergeant Hank Hayes that evening.

The Portland Police Bureau’s Sergeant Hank Hayes gives final instructions to the talent show participants.

“This started five years year ago. The Z-Man Foundation has historically provided academic scholarships to college preparatory high schools for students,” Hayes told East Portland News. “But after recognizing scholastics, we also wanted a way for students who are interested in the performing arts to participate.”

In addition to the prestige of performing in this talent show, the first place winner receives a $5,000 scholarship from the Z-Man foundation, Hayes said.


Parkrose High dancer wows crowd

Dancing up a storm is Parkrose High School sophomore Gabriel Grant Messing.

Representing Parkrose High School was sophomore Gabriel Grant Messing.

“Competing against about a dozen other acts, I won our talent show this year with my dancing,” explained Messing, catching his breath as he came off stage. “My interest in dancing started about sixth grade when I started watching all those cool YouTube videos.

Gabriel Grant Messing cuts loose as he performs his dance routine.

“When I’m on stage performing I feel a big adrenaline rush, and it’s really fun,” Messing remarked about his experience. “You get up there, and your energy is pumped up, and when the music starts playing you feel like you’re ready to explode inside. You get up, and you do your moves, and you let it out!”

He feels supported by his fellow Parkrose Broncos, Messing said. “I’ve made a lot of good friends who encouraged and supported me, and who keep encouraging me to keep on – so I’ve kept doing it,” he said.


David Douglas singer takes 2nd place honors

Demonstrating her talent for singing is David Douglas High School senior Abigail Jacobs.

After her performance, on the “Talent Within” stage, the winner of the David Douglas High School talent show this year – senior Abigail Jacobs – said she had considered singing a different song, but now is glad she didn’t.

Accompanying herself during her performance of the Little Big Town song “Girl Crush” led her to the 2nd place spot at the competition.

“When I was young, my dad would encourage me to sing karaoke with him after he got home from work – so I’ve been singing pretty much since I can remember,” Jacobs said.

The lilting voice of Abigail Jacobs wins the hearts of several judges.

Being in the school’s orchestra and jazz band helped teach Abigail how to perform in front of audiences, as they competed for State awards.  “I got to sing for jazz band for last year, and also play the piano for the rhythm section,” Jacobs smiled.

As a freshman, she didn’t try out for the talent show because she felt shy. “But, as I’ve gained in confidence in my singing, I thought I’d try this year, to see where it takes me – and it took me here!”

After she graduates, Jacobs will head off for a career in the US Army in the Military Police program. “Having grown up as a ‘military brat’, I’ve gotten a taste of what it is like to be in the military service,” Jacobs explained.


Madison High skater rolls into first place

Known as ‘K Lavish’, Madison High School freshman Kai’leif Newcomb shows his award-winning moves.

Taking away the $5,000 “Talent Within” scholarship was Madison High School freshman Kai’leif Newcomb.

His ticket to this competition was winning his school’s talent show this year, Newcomb said.

“I’ve been roller skating since I’ve been two years old,” recalled Newcomb. “I learned to get my balance by skating round in circles. Then, watching my uncle skate, I started learning new moves, traveling with him.”

Skating with ferocious grace, Kai’leif Newcomb rolls his way to the 1st prize trophy.

He kept on skating, spending many hours at the Oaks Amusement Park Roller rink and at Skate World in Gresham, said Newcomb. “I practiced this routine until I was sure I had it down, 100%; then I put in 100% energy and I won it!

“I’m glad to be in this competition, because I have an opportunity to step up, be as good as I can be, and follow my dreams,” Newcomb.

Our congratulations to all of the participants!

For more information about the Z-Man Scholarship Foundation, see their official website: CLICK HERE.

© 2017 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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