The 8th annual DC-CAPITAL STARS took place last Tuesday (April 26) at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ Eisenhower Theater followed by a gala reception in the Nations Gallery. The DC College Access Program’s (DC-CAP) major annual fundraiser, sponsors such as His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba, The Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States; the Clark Charitable Foundation; and Ted & Lynn Leonsis/Leonsis Foundation/Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation came together to promote this year’s theme: The Sounds of Movie Music.
Celebrity Judges Donnie Simpson, Mark Rivera, Fik-Shun, and Kellie Shanygne Williams headlined the event’s American Idol-style competition, as audience members voted using handheld devices and the celebrity judges commented on each performance. Ten finalists — singers, dancers, and musicians ages 16-18 from DC public and public charter schools — performed and competed for college scholarships. Winners were determined 50% by judges input and 50% based on audience vote.
1st prize went to winner opera singer Saloni Rao, 17, a senior attending Woodrow Wilson High School, who won the $10,000 college scholarship grand prize. 2nd prize was awarded to dancer Eriq Bridgett, 18, a senior at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, who won a $6,000 college scholarship. And 3rd prize went to opera singer Samira Plummer, 18, a senior at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, who won a $4,000 college scholarship. The remaining student performers each received $2,000 college scholarships.
All in all, more than $800,000 was raised through the event to support DC-CAP’s services – which include individual and group counseling, college application assistance, and financial aid counseling for students and parents at the high school level and individual and academic and mentoring services at the college level, as well as awarding those coveted college scholarships – so that every DC public and public charter school student has a chance to prepare for, enroll in and graduate from college.
*Images credit Hyon Smith/Hyon Smith Photography