Talent Show raises funds for Haiti

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Whirls of light, melodious voices, and the resonance of instruments filled the auditorium on December 13, as students gathered to showcase their talents at the fourth annual Townsend’s Got Talent. Coordinated by International Love, the show raised over $1300 for building a school in Jacmel, Haiti.

Science teacher Sarah Oberlander kicked off the show with a hula hoop routine. She was followed by Michelle Arenas, a student from P.S. 255 at THHS who sang “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera. Silence filled the air when junior Sarah Iqbal read her emotional poem “I Don’t Want You Wearing Someone Else’s Genes.” There were several vocal performances, including one by the student band Alpha Quality. The show culminated with junior Austin Jaross winning first place, seniors Suswana Chowdhury and Nirvana Thakur taking second, and a musical group led by senior Devanand Das placing third.

Austin’s performance consisted of him rhythmically spinning lighted wheels called “podpoi” in sync with music.

“I’ve been spinning poi for three and a half years,” he said, “I perform with fire but I didn’t wanted to be charged with arson, so I decided to use the glow podpoi instead.”

Nirvana and Suswana performed a dance consisting of a fusion of Bollywood and Hollywood, while Devanand sang a Bollywood song.

Sophomore Rafia Islam  stated, “It was amazing to see that he did a song in his own language and was very passionate about it because we all thought he was going to do  a rap.”

Sophomore Nadia Khan liked how the talent show gives students the ability to express different sides of themselves: “It is one of the few events where anyone can perform and receive acknowledgement.”

This year, Free the Children and Amnesty International joined their clubs to form one club called  International Love. However, the merging proved to be beneficial to show.

“We had a lot more people to help organize it and help get ideas flowing as to how we could make the show successful,” said Suswana, co-president of International Love.

However, organizing the show did not come without conflicts. The show is usually held in spring but due to auditorium availability, it was set for December. In addition, since SING just occurred, less students were expected to prepare and show off their skills. There were also concerns of not having enough acts and having a poor turnout, which were former issues. However, they translated their worry into creative advertising for the show with several posters and a jingle commercial. As a result, this year’s talent show had the most spectators in the past four years.

Although the show offered entertainment to the student body, it will offer more to other young people. Co-president of International Love senior Leanna Narain quoted the Ephebic Oath while noting said benefits.

“The talent show displays not only the diversity of talent in our school but also the compassion that the Townsend Harris community has by supporting the construction of a school in Jacmel, Haiti,” she said. “I’m honored and thankful to have such a supportive community that works together to fulfill a pledge we all took to leave our city and in this case our world greater than we found it.”