The atmosphere in the auditorium was electric, as the best high school talent from across Portland gathered for a dress rehearsal of the Z-Man Scholarship Foundation's "Talent Within" contest, shortly before the end of school for the summer.
"We're all excited about the top-notch acts this year – each of whom won their respective school's talent competition, and was then excited to move on to our contest," remarked organizer Portland Police Bureau Sergeant Hank Hayes that evening.
"This started five years ago. The Z-Man Foundation has historically provided academic scholarships to college preparatory high schools for students," Hayes told THE BEE. "But in addition to scholastics, we also wanted a way for students who are interested in the performing arts to participate."
In addition to the prestige of performing in this area-wide show, the first place winner also receives a $5,000 scholarship from the foundation, Hayes said.
Showing her Quaker Pride at this year's competition was Franklin High School senior Liliana Morrisey, who accompanied herself on piano as she sang an original ballad called "Can't Take it Back".
"It was already amazing that I won the talent contest at Franklin, competing against eleven other students who were all really talented," Morrisey grinned to THE BEE backstage.
"I've been working on this song over the span of three years," Morrisey reflected, explaining that she finally felt it was ready for performance. "What's helped me have the confidence to perform has been the Franklin community, and having my friends show up to cheer me on.
"Now, being able to compete at the Z-Man Scholarship Foundation 'Talent Within' show is an incredible experience, and great way to end my senior year!"
This fall she'll be studying psychology at Oregon State University. "I hope my dad lets me take my keyboard with me, so I can keep working on my music in my dorm room," Morrisey added, with a twinkle in her eye.
Although participants from Madison, David Douglas, and Wilson took top honors in the citywide Z-Man competition, Morrisey represented the Quakers well. Find out more about the Z-Man Scholarship Foundation online – www.zmanscholarship.org