D.C. CAPS: Scholars As Stars; Don Graham Honored
The seventh annual D.C. Capital Stars at the Eisenhower Theater at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts April 1 brought in more than $1.1 million to support its services, including high school and college counseling college scholarships. Yousef Al Otaiba, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States, was the presenting sponsor of the event. First prize winner was dancer Jiamond Watson, 17, a junior attending Duke Ellington School of the Arts: he won the $10,000 scholarship grand prize. Donald Graham, D.C.-CAP founder and former board chair, was given a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Celebrity Judges headlined an "Idol"-style competition: audience members voted using handheld devices and the celebrity judges commented on each performance. Winners were determined 50 percent by judges' input and 50 percent based on audience vote. Judges were: Tony-winning tapper Savion Glover, Broadway and film star Alyson Reed, musician and long-time Billy Joel bandmate Mark Rivera.
The winners -- 10 finalists, singers, dancers, and musicians, ranging in ages 15 to 17 from D.C. public and public charter schools -- performed and competed for college scholarships.
*1st prize winner: dancer Jiamond Watson, 17, a junior attending Duke Ellington School of the Arts, won the $10,000 scholarship grand prize.
*2nd prize winner: rapper-singer-ukulele player Carlos Hood, 18, senior at Woodrow Wilson High School, won a $6,000 scholarship.
*3rd prize winner: pianist Jennifer Li, 17, senior at Woodrow Wilson High School, won a $4,000 scholarship.
The remaining runners-up each received $2,000 scholarships. (View audition videos and read essays written by the top 10 finalists at dccap.org/gala.)
The evening's special honoree: Donald Graham, founder of D.C. Capital Stars and former board chair, was given a Lifetime Achievement Award for "making tens of thousands of D.C. students’ college dreams come over the past 16 years."
ABC7/WJLA News anchor Leon Harris was master of ceremonies.