Kris Allen lends hand to Choosing to Excel

by Sonja J. Keith

Singer/songwriter Kris Allen offered a helping hand Saturday night to Choosing to Excel, an organization that he volunteered with long before he found success on the American Idol stage.

Choosing to Excel hosted its annual “Evening with the Stars and Conway’s Got Talent” on Saturday at the James Clark Auditorium at Conway High School. The event celebrated the organization’s more than 20 years of impact on the lives of young people.

The first half of the evening featured performances by local talent – Renee Stone, Rosa Howard, Team Ellen Smith Elementary School, Jakayla Storey, Rhonda Bradley, Elizabeth Davis, Team Julia Lee Moore Elementary (also known as “The Lunchroom Ladies”) and Ferris Jackson.

In addition to Allen, there were special performances by Rob Hammonds and Funk Fusion Academy.

People’s Choice winners, determined by votes cast by monetary donations, were:

  • First place – Team Ellen Smith.
  • Second place – Rhonda Bradley.
  • Third Place – Team Julia Lee Moore.

Winners as determined by a panel of judges were:

  • First place – Team Ellen Smith.
  • Second place – Elizabeth Davis.
  • Third place – Rosa Howard.

Conway Junior High student Taylor Schultz (right) won a raffle and a chance to sing with Kris Allen at the Choosing to Excel fundraiser.

B98.5 morning show host Jeff Matthews and Susie Everett of Everett Buick Pontiac GMC served as the show emcees. Executive director Thelma Moton thanked the sponsors of the event and those in attendance. Sponsors for the event included:

  • Platinum – Georg Andersen and US Compounding.
  • Gold – Conway Orthopaedic, Cadron Creek Pallets and Harris Plastering.
  • Silver – The Kitchen Store, Kay and Dr. Kyle Dalton and Centennial Bank.
  • Bronze – Sen. Jason Rapert, Magie Mabrey Eye Clinic and Arkansas Elite 4 Force.
  • Friendship – Sonshine Academy, Bernadette Post, Holly Huckabee, Linda Linn and Simmons First National Bank.

Choosing to Excel provides a variety of services to encourage young people to make healthy choices – from mentoring and weekly focus groups to assistance for single pregnant or parenting women. The organization provides services in Faulkner, Conway, Garland, Saline and Pulaski counties.

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