The pageant on Saturday, March 10, was presented by the Ormond Beach Department of Leisure Services at the Ormond Beach Performing Arts Center.
For the 19th year, the Shining Stars Pageant gave locals with special needs a platform to express their talents like singing, dancing and playing the piano.
Filling the stage at Ormond Beach Performing Arts Center, 28 participants in Ormond Beach’s Department of Leisure Services Special Populations Division showcased their talents and answered pageant-style questions on Saturday, March 10.
Nova Community Center and Special Divisions Populations Coordinator Lori Koplin has been working with the pageant for about 10 years.
“It’s exciting to watch them overcome the challenges and reach their goals,” she said.
She added that getting on stage takes a lot of courage for some of the participants, but it’s rewarding.
Koplin said this year, they revamped the pageant’s format to include onstage questions, including favorite characters and role models, to give the participants more stage time.
Four age groups, ranging from little kids to young adults to middle-aged to senior citizens, performed and were crowned, showing the diversity of the area.
Koplin said that in addition to helping the participants get out of their shells to enjoy the spotlight, the pageant is also a way for the parents to see their children perform and showcase their many abilities.
“Shoshana was barely able to walk when she started,” Koplin said. “She was so excited to perform the song from ‘Annie’ this year. John Hearn is kind of the same way. He was not very spoken as a child. He surprised me singing ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ this year. He knew all the words.”
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