Trending Talent

It is no secret the Owatonna High School holds abundant talent. Every year since 2001, students have been given an opportunity to showcase their skills in the talent show sponsored by the National Honor Society (NHS) and DECA. “There’s definitely a variety of acts this year, too. You’d expect everyone to sing or play an instrument, but people are out there doing comedy or sketches or this and that,” said Jacob Hellevik, NHS president. Not only is it an exciting activity for the students, but it is a fundraiser for a charity of choice. This year, the NHS club voted to donate the proceeds to Let’s Smile, Inc., a local organization that provides dental care to children who cannot afford it. “DECA became involved a number of years ago when an individual decided to help sponsor the show with a donation. He requested that DECA kids stay involved by using their business skills to promote the show and gain more sponsorships,” said Scott Pierce, DECA advisor. This allows students to be involved and help their community, even if they are not performing. “Organizing everything and realizing how much work goes into something this big has really made me respect people who have done this in the past,” said Elizabeth Wiebke, co-head of the talent show committee, alongside Maria Versteeg. Other sub-committees included the advertising committee, backstage help and concessions. .

This year’s theme was “Now Trending.” The committee capitalized on the multimedia world students are now living in, accepting a majority of the audience will probably be checking their phones during the show. Instead of fighting this, the committee integrated this into the theme. “There will be a screen showing live tweets of the show. There was also be a Instagram booth set up outside where people can take pictures. While we are encouraging people to tweet about the show, we want everyone to use their phones responsibly and respectfully,” adds Wiebke. Another twist this year presented was “Dueling Emcees.” Instead of one or two emcees, the show featured two pairs–Jacob Hellevik and Matt Kingland (#KingVik) versus Anna Moe and Pete Jones (#DreamTeam), who are all seniors and members of NHS. At the end of the night, it appeared  #DreamTeam had pulled through as the favorite emcees–until the audience requested a recount. After deliberation, #KingVik squeaked by and had the pleasure of pieing their opponents in the face–how fitting for March 14! Matt Kingland said,“The talent show was a huge success! Everyone had such a great time. I was happy to be a part of it and win the emcee battle!”

There were 15 contestants with a wide range of talent and acts. They were judged by seniors and NHS members Qahir Lakha and Katherine Dufrene, as well as teachers Mrs. Halverson, Mrs. Thiele and Mr. Wanous on creativity, stage presence and the ability to execute the act. Although the audience was pleased by every performance, the winners were Jasmine Palmer in first with an original song, Abigail Hansen with a harp solo, and Nicholas Hagen and Sheldon Jensen with a comedy sketch. Hagen and Jensen also charmed the audience and received the People’s Choice Award. Additionally, the winners walked away with not only pride, but also a bit of prize money, with amounts ranging from $50-$250.

“I am so incredibly grateful that this community, that you guys, have chosen Let’s Smile Inc. to support. Dental care is such a need in this community, and this is so overwhelming,. Thank you, thank you, thank you.” said Holly Jorgensen, founder of the organization. This year, the talent show raised $1,365.98 for Let’s Smile Inc. The final product  is a wonderful example of how each student, no matter who they are, can contribute to something greater.  “My favorite part every year has been sitting down and watching this and saying, ‘Wow! They really pulled this off!’”, said Mike Stormo, NHS advisor, “It has been great to see it come together.” Whether their strong suit be in organizing and planning, spreading the word and enticing sponsors, working backstage or performing an act, it proves what can be accomplished when people of all aptitudes work together for a common cause.