Celebrity judges Jordin Sparks (American Idol), Amber Riley (Glee), Denyce Graves and Patti LaBelle headlined the American-Idol style competition as the 5th annual DC-CAPital Stars Talent Competition and Gala took to the stage of the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theatre on Tuesday night.
The DC College Access Program‘s (DC-CAP) major annual fundraiser, ten finalists (aged 15 – 18, at left) who were chosen during a citywide search of DC public and public charter schools, were given the opportunity to sing, dance, or play music at the finale event to compete for college scholarships.
But though the talented youth were excited to meet these celebrity artists, they may have been more thrilled to see a huge sea of friends, family and fans… because though the celeb offered helpful tips and comments on each performance, their votes counted only 50%. The other half of the score was determined through the participation of the audience.
First prize winner Chabeli Arroyo (lead image, above), 17, a senior at Duke Ellington School for the Arts, sang “Ride Up in the Chariot” by Betty Jackson King, accepted the $10,000 scholarship grand prize. Second place finisher Savannah Cranford (17, senior, Duke Ellington) danced to “Bitter Earth” by Dinah Washington to win a $6,000 scholarship, and 17-yr-old senior from Duke Ellington, saxophonist Rocky Garcia, played “Loving You” by Minnie Ripperton for third honors and to win a $4,000 scholarship. The remaining 7 runners-up each received $2,000 scholarships.
DC-CAP, the privately funded, nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging and enabling DC public high school students enroll in and graduate from college has, over the past 13 years, helped 18,000 students enroll in college, awarded $26 million in scholarships, and celebrated the success of more than 3,800 graduates who otherwise would have never had the opportunity for higher education.
*All images credit Hyon Smith