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Walker's 2012 Rising Stars Scholarship Finalists

The annual college scholarship for the arts features a handful of students from Clearwater schools.

Five of the 25 finalists for Walker's Rising Stars come from Clearwater schools.

The college scholarship is offered to juniors and seniors in Pinellas County Schools for solo performances in dance, drama, vocal music, instrumental music, visual and video arts, according to the Pinellas Education Foundation. 

Applicants who make it to the final round will show off their stuff at the Walker's Rising Stars Scholarship Awards Show on May 24 at .

Vote for your "fan favorite" through May 16. Here are the Clearwater area students to vote for, as quoted on the Pinellas Education Foundation website:

Emma Foroutan, senior, Clearwater High School:

"The arts play such a huge role in my life. Every morning I wake up with one thing on my mind: I have rehearsal today! That's what drives me every day to reach for the stars. An opportunity like this only pushes me further in life and I want to thank the Pinellas Education Foundation and mostly, Dr. Walker for this wonderful scholarship program. I want to show others what impact the arts have on me. I hope to impact others everyday with my voice, whether it's one person or hundreds. Music pulses through my veins and always will."

Jordan Rodnizki, senior, Countryside High School: 

"I screamed a lot during my childhood, and Drama became the medium through which my loud voice exercised itself appropriately. The theatre became the haven where I could alternately be myself and be everyone else. A stage presented itself in a myriad of ways: a home away from home, a sacred space, or to quote Sunday in the Park With George, a "blank canvas" of "possibilities." Today, the annoying 4-year-old Jordan is tucked away somewhere inside, but the loud voice - both physically and emotionally - still remains. Walker's Rising Stars isn't about fame, but rather the opportunity to showcase the many different talents of Pinellas County high school students. Through our songs, dances, paintings, videos, instruments, and monologues, we all have something to say. The visual and performing arts are clearly not going anywhere, and that is what I find most meaningful about this program."  

Rosalie Bradford, senior, Clearwater High School: 

"I love art in all forms, but I've always had a special passion for film.  As I have grown older the messages in my productions have become deeper, more thoroughly thought out and a demonstration of the experience I'm gaining. When someone watches a comedy I've made, I hope they go home laughing. When someone views a PSA I've made, I want them to leave more aware. When someone experiences a documentary I created, they will leave more informed and better educated. What I see through the lens I also see in my heart, and that's what I try to get across to my audience."

Ben Rophie, senior, Clearwater High School: 

"Video production has been a passion of mine ever since I started making Lego stop motions in middle school. I have grown up since then and have become more proficient with my work, filming and editing documentaries of all sorts. This opportunity means a great deal to me, as it would financially aid me through college and help me pursue a future career in video production. They say if you like what you do, you never work a day in your life."

Eric Vander Weit, senior, Countryside High School: 

"Singing is, by far, my favorite thing to do. I love singing because it can show my many different emotions. I can sing when I am excited or when I’m upset, and it always seems to be the best way for me to communicate something I feel strongly about. Winning this scholarship means that I won’t have to worry about financing my education at the same time that I will be supporting me and newly engaged fiancé when we get married. I’m sure this scholarship will be a big help to everyone who wins it; thus, I say 'Break a leg everyone, be yourself, and don’t lose sight of your dreams.' "

If You Go

What: Walker's Rising Stars Scholarship Competition Finals

When: 7 p.m. May 24

Where: Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N. McMullen Booth Road

Cost: $5 for students and seniors, $10 in advance, $15 at the door

Call: 727-791-7400 or visit www.rutheckerdhall.com

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