Scholarship competition finals held in PTC April 18

Tue, 04/15/2008 - 3:29pm
By: The Citizen

A local Lexus dealership, along with the Lexus Pursuit of Potential foundation is sponsoring the innaugural Scholarships for the Stars Performing Arts Competition. The competition, which was opened to all Fayette County residents who are currently a senior in high school and planning to major in music in college, will award $20,000 in scholarships to four of the 12 finalists, with the grand prize winner taking home a $10,000 scholarship.

Randy Knapton, general manager of Lexus of South Atlanta, says the idea was inspired by watching his daughter, Laura, perform in various choral programs while attending McIntosh High School. “I was truly amazed at the talent level of our young students,” said Knapton. “I was also equally disheartened to find out how little financial incentives were available for music students in Fayette County.” Even though their numbers almost equal the number of students participating in varsity sports, scholarship money available for music students is a very small fraction of what is available to the athletes. So, using matching funds from the Lexus Pursuit of Potential, a national foundation created by Lexus to help promote children's causes, and with the assistance of Dr. Franklin Green, the director for the Georgia Singers, the Scholarships for the Stars program was born.

Applications were made available in early February and the first round of the auditions was held on March 22. From the audition, 12 finalists were selected. They include Tyler Blount of McIntosh High School, Danielle Conti of Starr’s Mill High School, David Conley from Our Lady of Mercy, Ridge Davis of Whitewater High School, Sarah Fender of Starr’s Mill, Kent Hanie of Starr’s Mill, Amy Hebel of Fayette County High School, Saikat Karmakar of Fayette County, Craig Kleinmeyer of McIntosh, Eric Lindsey of Whitewater, Maria Rivera-Diaz of McIntosh and Cherise Quamme of McIntosh.

These 12 finalists will all perform Friday, April 18 at the First Presbyterian Church in Peachtree City at 7:30 p.m. A panel of judges, comprised of college music professors from around the area, will determine the best overall performers. Along with the $10,000 first place, second place will be receiving a $5,000 scholarship. Third and fourth place will receive $3,000 and $2,000, respectively.

A VIP reception will be held immediately after the performance to honor the winners. Tickets for the event are only $5 in advance or $7 on the night of the event. They can be purchased at many of the local high schools, the Frederick Brown Jr. Amphitheater and at Lexus of South Atlanta. Tickets for the VIP reception with preferred seating can be purchased for $20. All tickets sales go directly into additional scholarships for the students, since Lexus of South Atlanta is also taking care of all of the actual expenses to put on the event.

The event is being co-sponsored by Comcast Spotlight with help from Southern Keyboards and the Fayette County Education Foundation. Call 678-783-2700 or visit for more information.

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