BY MARIA MARROQUIN
Jayden Saldana took first place for reciting his poem at Adelante First Year Experience program’s second annual talent show on Nov. 17. Saldana started his performance by saying, “I want to give a shout out to my cat,” causing audience members to laugh out loud. But as soon as he started reciting his poem, silence filled the room.
Saldana had the undivided attention of the audience when he purposely recited the poem with a stutter. His poem was about people who suffer anxiety daily and feel as if they are a burden to society. Saldana landed the big win of the night.
Singer, cancer survivor and comedian, Nick Nevarez obtained second place with his performance of Piano Man by Billy Joel. He had the crowd cheering and singing along. Nevarez amazed the crowd when he played the harmonica during his performance. His presence on stage had audience members laughing, clapping and cheering for him since the beginning.
Nevarez friend, Alma Urrea said after the show, “Nick is such a brave soul. He’s always enthusiastic about doing anything, and overall he is a survivor,” referring to Nevarez winning his battle with cancer earlier this year and surviving brain injuries from a car accident in 2009.
The judges could not choose only one person for third place. Instead, they decided to make Jesus Borja’s dance performance and Michael Estrada’s guitar solo a tie. Borja’s dance moves managed to get the audience moving in their chairs. Estrada had some minor difficulties setting up his electric guitar, but performed Under the Bridge by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. He also managed to get the judges and audience to move to the rhythm of his guitar solo, for the second piece of his performance called, Feel It.
Among other performances, Joshua Castro made the audience laugh with a lyrical poem of his own, called One Night Stand Jose, about Tinder and dating in today’s society.
After an emotional speech and four attempts to start her performance, Yoselin Duarte surprised audience members with her amazing vocals.
“Nobody in my family came to support me tonight, music is a big thing for me, but they say it is a waste of time. I’m sorry I’m a little emotional tonight,” said Duarte before her interpretation of the spanish version of the song, Hallelujah.
“The motto for the FYE program is ‘to help scholars achieve greatness.’ We do not call students ‘students’, we call them scholars, because we want to change their mindset, in order for them to feel proud to be a part of ELAC,” said director of Adelante FYE Vanessa Ochoa. Her goal is to help new students feel at home and transition to college easier.
Ochoa said the staff of Adelante FYE made every effort for the talent show to succeed. The talent show’s purpose is to bring new student awareness to the program and to help them find community during their first year at ELAC.
“Education is life and death. Because education has helped me to be successful, it can change your community. That’s what drives me: the ability to create positive effective transformative change,” said Ochoa.
Overall, the night was filled with entertainment provided by the hosts of the show and the many talented students who participated. At the end of the night Ochoa took the stage once more to thank the judges and event goers. “The night was a success and I’m very proud of the FYE staff for organizing, and making tonight possible.” Ochoa said.