DCCAP3rd Place Winner Jennifer Li Photo 1-001

Third Place Winner Jennifer Li (center) accepts her award at the 7th Annual DC-CAP Star Talent Competition. (Photo by Sir Harvey Fitz)

Community leaders, dignitaries, parents, and students of all ages gathered on April 1 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. Those assembled were attending the 7th Annual DC-CAP Stars Talent Competition. The event was held to showcase the talents of rising college-bound students and to help raise scholarship funds.

The theme this year was: A Tribute to Rock n Roll. Student participants included a variety of dancers, performers, instrumentalists and singers competing against one another. All participants were teenagers from area DC public and charter schools.

Tony-winning tapper Savion Glover, Broadway and film star Alyson Reed, and musician Mark Rivera were judges. The winners were determined by 50 percent of judges’ decisions and 50 percent of audiences’ votes.

First Place Winner Jiamond Watson. (Photo by Sir Harvey Fitz)

The awards for this competition include college scholarships ranging from $2,000 to $10,000. The first prize winner was dancer Jiamond Watson, a 17 year old studying at the Duke Ellington School of Arts. He won the $10,000 grand prize scholarship. The second prize winner was rapper/singer/ukulele player Carlos Hood, an 18 year old studying at Woodrow Wilson Senior High School. He won $6,000. Pianist Jennifer Li, a senior at Woodrow Wilson Senior High School, won a $4,000 scholarship.

The DC-CAP was founded by Don Graham with his passion for youth development. Sixteen years ago, he started this program to provide every student in the District of Columbia the opportunity of a college education. He believes higher education can change an individual’s life. His vision was of improving adolescents’ chances of success.

“Don created a public-private partnership that is a model for every city,” said deputy mayor for education, Jennifer Niles.

Mayor Muriel Bowser and Second Place Winner Carlos Hood. (Photo by Sir Harvey Fitz)

DC-CAP has helped more than 23,000 students enroll in college and it has awarded more than $33 million in scholarships. Because of the initiatives of the DC-CAP, the students who were in the program are now attending colleges and universities around the country. Moreover, DC-CAP has advisors in every public and public charter high school. The advisors are there to support students and families in their dreams of pursuing higher education.

Congresswomen Eleanor Holmes Norton said Don’s “very life is a life lesson. When you are in, be all in.” She said Don was “’all in’ for educating DC’s young people.”

The event on April 1 brought in $1.1 million in support for the continuation of DC-CAP’s services including scholarships and high school counseling services. Because of the support of many donors, the events and services of DC-CAP are available to most students.

To learn more about DC-CAP visit: http://www.dccap.org/