Dukate Elementary Stages Talent Show Finale

The "stars" came out for a farewell performance at Dukate Elementary School Tuesday afternoon.

The Biloxi school is closing its doors for good following classes tomorrow. That's why today's talent show in the aging auditorium was something special.

The "Dukate Stars" took to the stage with lots of enthusiasm and extra emotion. Students and teachers are preparing to say so long to the old school.

This time next year, they'll be singing and dancing on a different stage at the new Nichols Elementary.

Melissa Nance is Dukate's Principal.

"We have mixed feelings. We love Dukate. We really do. So, it's going to be difficult to say good bye. But we are thrilled about the opening of Nichols," she said.

"God bless America, land that I love," sang Arnessa Smallman, a girl who claimed top honors in the talent show with her powerful voice.

If the old wooden chairs could talk, they'd no doubt share stories about all the young talent that's graced this school stage over the decades.

"I will miss the talent shows. I surely will," said retiring music teacher, Lou Miles.

She's helped organize many such shows. This Dukate show is a fitting finale.

"It was a good job. They really had a good time with all their dancing and singing. I think children and music go together," said Miles.

Although Wednesday may be the final day of school classes, the building isn't necessarily closing it's doors on children's education and activities. As WLOX News reported earlier, the Salvation Army is working on a plan to purchase the property and convert the old school building into a community center for the children of East Biloxi.

Teachers and students cut loose for the farewell performance. They made this year's talent show a good bye to remember.

"And this was a great finale! It really was," said Principal Nance.

Dukate Elementary is hosting a good bye ceremony Wednesday afternoon from four until six. Former teachers, students and administrators will meet at the school for a more formal farewell.