The second annual DC-CAPital Stars Talent Competition and Night of DC-CAPital Stars Gala drew more than 400 persons to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on March 8.

The show kicked off with a tribute to Michael Jackson featuring a medley of song and dance featuring the DC-CAPital Stars Talent Competition semi-finalists.?Then the 10 finalists—chosen after months of competing by the Washington area public–showcased their artistic abilities at the special performance, where a panel of celebrity judges, along with help from the audience, helped select the grand prize winner.

Each DC-CAPital Stars finalist received college scholarships which go toward their first year of school—first-place winner Kanysha Williams, senior at Duke Ellington School of the Arts, received $10,000; second-place winner Siera Toney, senior at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School, received $6,000; third-place winner Clifton Williams, senior at Duke Ellington School of the Arts, won $4,000 and all the other runners up received a $2,000 scholarship each.

And, in what has become a new tradition, DC-CAP board member Mark Ein, of Venturehouse Group LLC, made a “surprise” announcement at the gala following the performance that he and fellow DC-CAP supporter Ron Duritz wanted the kids to have more money for college. So, together, they increased all finalist scholarship awards by $2,000 for a total of $54,000 in scholarships awarded that evening.?The performance and gala is the largest fundraiser for the organization, which honors outstanding academic achievement and excellence in artistic abilities of college-bound students from the District of Columbia.

Seen in this photo are third-place winner Clifton Williams, left; Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, DC-CAP Chairman and gala co-chair Donald Graham, actress/choreographer Debbie Allen, master pianist ELEW, first-place winner Kanysha Williams, DC-CAP board member and gala co-chair Catherine Reynolds, DC-CAP President and CEO Argelia Rodriguez, Congressman Steny Hoyer and second-place winner Siera Toney.