July 16, 2018
School & Youth
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  • When PTA mom Loretta Wilson first had the idea for the variety show, she wanted to call it Shining Star Moments.
    Photo Provided
    When PTA mom Loretta Wilson first had the idea for the variety show, she wanted to call it Shining Star Moments.
  • Deanna Ortiz, a former PTA mom who volunteered with the variety show for many years, choreographs the finale, which incorporates all of the kids who participated in the show.
    Photo Provided
    Deanna Ortiz, a former PTA mom who volunteered with the variety show for many years, choreographs the finale, which incorporates all of the kids who participated in the show.
  • (Left to right) Jennifer Augustine, Joe Amey and Jessica Gorski sported pink boutonnieres. Gorski provides them for everyone volunteering with the show to make each person stand out.
    Photo Provided
    (Left to right) Jennifer Augustine, Joe Amey and Jessica Gorski sported pink boutonnieres. Gorski provides them for everyone volunteering with the show to make each person stand out.

Severna Park Elementary Hosts 12th Annual Variety Show For Breast Cancer

Maya Pottiger
Maya Pottiger's picture
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March 6, 2018
For the last 12 years, the largest fundraiser for the Severna Park Elementary PTA has been its variety show.
 
But the funds don’t go to the PTA, they go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation in honor of three SPES mothers who passed away from breast cancer: Loretta Wilson, Jennifer MacFarland and Jennifer Soverns.
 
Since the PTA started advertising that the show benefits the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the overall contribution has increased every year. In 2015, when it was first advertised where the donations go, $815 was raised. Then, in 2017, the donation more than doubled as the variety show raised $2,596.
 
“Maybe it’s the competitive spirit of Severna Park, but we always say how much we got and that we want to beat it,” said Jess Gorski, who has taken on many different roles in the variety show for the last 11 years. This is her final year with the event.
 
Wilson originally had the idea for the variety show. She wanted to call it Shining Star Moments.
 
“Many kids have accolades from school, music, sports, all these different things,” Gorski said. “[Wilson] was looking for a way for children to share other talents or interests and have a moment that breaks out from your standard checkboxes that I think a lot of the kids feel they have to excel in.”
 
For Jennie Merrill, the stage manager and a teacher at Severna Park Elementary, that is the reason she chose to help with the show.
 
“I want to see them shine at something that wasn’t academic, wasn’t sports related, something where they could just be themselves and enjoy themselves,” Merrill said
 
Over the last 12 years, the variety show has evolved in many ways. The current show features 50 acts from roughly 175 students, which is more than 50 percent of the school’s population. To keep the show at a reasonable length, each act is limited to 90 seconds.
“If they dream it up, then we provide a way for it to happen,” Gorski said.
 
The entire show comes together in two mandatory rehearsals. The second rehearsal is a full dress rehearsal. In addition to the two mandatory rehearsals is a third rehearsal where students who have stage fright, who want to work on their act or who need further assistance have private stage time with the producers without being rushed.
 
“I’m so proud just for them to have the courage to get up there and for their peers to see a side of them they don’t normally don’t get to see,” said Deanna Ortiz, who volunteered with the variety show for many years. “Everyone comes to this common bond because they’re all nervous together.”
 
“My favorite moment of every single act is the bow,” Gorski said. “In that moment, they practically are falling over because they’re smiling and they can barely contain themselves.”
 
The 2018 PTA Variety Show takes place March 23 at 7:00pm in the Severna Park Elementary cafeteria. It is not a ticketed event, but the PTA asks attendees to donate $5 per person to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

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