The Renewal

Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud and how does it relate to the person you are?

I shiver with anticipation as the other nine finalists and I line up on the Portland Teen Idol stage. I’ve performed my songs to the best of my ability, and now I grasp the clammy hands of my talented neighbors, waiting to hear the results. The announcer booms: “And your 2012 Portland Teen Idol winner is....Miss Hailey Kilgore!” My name is not Hailey. Hot tears prick my eyes as tumultuous applause fills the auditorium. I guess my jazzed up rendition of Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile” didn’t go so well, because next thing I know, I’m clutching a participant’s plaque and attempting to force my lips into some semblance of a cheerful grin.

After striking out in the Portland Teen Idol arena, I decided to take my talents backstage. I founded a singing competition called Beaverton Teen Idol. As school budgets were slashed, students lost access to music education in my district. Beaverton Teen Idol was intended to offer those students a chance to make their voices heard. I pulled together two preliminary auditions, a semi-finals round, and a grand finale. The night of the finale, 150 people attended, a journalist wrote up the event in the local paper, and we raised $2000 through ticket sales and donations, all of it intended to help homeless...

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