In a talent show Director Maripat Wilkinson said teaches students about confidence, teamwork and discipline, 23 seventh and eighth graders showcased their talents at Show Circle this weekend.
Students performed a wide range of acts at the talent show from playing the ukulele to break dancing on the auditorium stage, in the first year the show moved out of the commons and cafeteria to accommodate a growing audience.
About 250 people attended the show Friday, and Wilkinson estimated about 200 attended Saturday — more than any other year.
Wilkinson said since they started rehearsing in October, she has seen the students break down barriers, and befriend students who they otherwise might not have talked to.
"They all have to depend on each other and be there for each other," Wilkinson said. "They learn to appreciate their differences because someone who's not technical needs someone to run the computer, and someone who runs the spotlight needs someone to shine it on."
Mario Fregoso, who performed a "popping" dance routine to a hip-hop mash-up he put together, said he learned how to work as a member of a team and made several new friends from working on the show.
"I always rely on the tech crew," he said. "If you don't get along with everybody, it's just not going to work."
Fregoso, who turned 14 on Saturday, said he started dancing during his summer vacation before fifth grade when he was bored and decided to search "cool dance" on YouTube.
Phillip Chbeeb from the TV show So You Think You Can Dance popped up, and Fregoso started imitating his dance routines. He looked up other dancers, too, and eventually started putting together his own routines with the stage name Cyber Maryo (which he likes to pronounce "Mar-YO").
This year his routine got him the only slot for a middle schooler in Shorewood High School's Show Case Dec. 9 and 10.