The talent was endless.
The applause was, too.
Special needs students from seven Pasco County schools displayed their unique skills on May 17 before more than 100 parents, peers and school faculty.
The eighth annual Showcase for Exceptional Talent was held at the Wesley Chapel High School Center for the Arts auditorium.
From dancing and singing/duets, to lip-syncing and comedy skits, there was no shortage of fun and entertainment.
The two-hour show featured more than 30 routines from dozens of exceptional student education (ESE) students.
Performers hailed from Wesley Chapel, Ridgewood, Wiregrass Ranch and Zephyrhills high schools; Seven Springs and Weightman middle schools; and, Watergrass Elementary.
On the main stage, students exhibited passion and confidence with each act.
The crowd responded with roaring applause and enthusiastic cheers.
Everyone seemed to be sharing an enjoyable time.
Wiregrass Ranch’s Nicholas Jones enlivened the audience as he jammed away at his guitar during a solo performance of “Wherever I May Roam” by Metallica.
Wesley Chapel High’s Regan Black left observers awestruck when she belted out the catchy sing-along tune of “Don’t Worry About a Thing” by Tori Kelly.
Acts such as a SpongeBob SquarePants reenactment and roaming “Comedy Chickens” generated hearty laughs.
During breaks, Wesley Chapel High’s Anthony Minnick and Shawn Zupnick served as emcees. They kept things moving with their dialogue and introductions, erasing any chance of a dull moment during the show.
Heather Farnsworth, a behavioral specialist at Wesley Chapel High, has coordinated the event for the past five years.
From her perspective, the talent show provides an “amazing” experience for special needs students countywide.
“It gives them a huge sense of community to come out and spend this time together,” Farnsworth said. “I don’t think they get the recognition that most of the other kids get; it’s something fun and exciting for them to do to showcase their amazing talents.”
Parent Dale Kimball expressed his appreciation for the annual event.
Kimball’s 15-year son, Paul, has autism.
His son was part of a Wesley Chapel High group ensemble that performed a remixed version of Randy Newman’s “You Got a Friend in Me.”
“This is the closest to a stage that most of these kids will ever get to,” Kimball said. “To me, it’s beautiful.
“Seeing ‘exceptional student’ and ‘talent’ in the same title puts a tear in my eye,” he added.
Kimball also credited Wesley Chapel High’s Exceptional Student Education department for encouraging reluctant students, like Paul, to participate in the event.
“They have a way of kind of building them up,” Kimball said, “even if it’s a very, very small thing.”
The ninth annual Showcase for Exceptional Talent is slated for sometime in mid-October.
Published May 24, 2017