HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Whether it be singing, dancing or acting, Harrison County Middle School students are being encouraged to share their special gifts with the world. Recently, North Gulfport Seventh and Eighth Grade School put on a talent show. Students said it means the world to them to have an opportunity to shine.
Before they hit the right notes and showed off their best moves, the students put in a lot of time preparing to take the stage.
"We're in drama club so we already started practicing some other things and some breathing stuff and how to project your voice," said eighth grader Zoe Williams.
Even with all that practicing, performers know there is always a chance nerves will get the better of them.
"I was kind of nervous, but when you hit the stage you just get a feeling like the rush helps you,"said Vianna Benjamin.
"I love it."
North Gulfport Seventh and Eighth Grade School started the talent shows last year. Teachers said they know getting a well rounded education is more than learning reading, writing and arithmetic.
"It's because we want to teach the whole self and not just academics, but those who have a true talent within," said Shelly Sutton, English teacher and talent show coordinator.
"It definitely builds their self confidence and self esteem. Right now they're trying to figure out who they are, where they belong, which group they belong with so it definitely helps them figure that out."
The kids said having an opportunity to show off their talents in front of their classmates made them feel it's okay to have big dreams and follow them.
"It means a lot to me," said Zoe Williams.
"It just tells me that I can do something. I can do this. It's something that I know how to do."
Zoe wrote a skit that she performed with her best friend, Lauren Williams.
"I think that they're trying to encourage us to do things that we're interested in whether or not we have the courage to go out and do it," said Lauren Williams.
"I think it's good because we don't have a lot of things at this school to give awards or something. This is something to give another way for letting kids relax on a day of school and get rewarded for what they do," said Benjamin
Students had their parents in the audience cheering them on.
"They need good role models. Make sure somebody has their support and backing them up and proud of them," said Jason Risler, parent.
"Making sure somebody is going to be with them in everything that they do especially school."
A gym full of people listened to Malik Washington's voice but his song was for someone not in the crowd.
Washington chose to sing "One Sweet Day" by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men.
"My father died last year of cancer so it's kind of for him. Just to show him that I hear him and I still love him," said Washington.
The top finishers took home first, second and third place trophies. Last year the school had two talent shows with one in the Fall and another in the Spring.