SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ –February is International Boost Self-Esteem Month and, at John F. Kennedy Elementary School, what better way to celebrate than by giving students the opportunity to shine in a school-wide virtual talent show. 

"I am looking forward to our school shining once again in the eyes of the community," said Principal Dr. Kevin Hajduk. "Our virtual talent show is a perfect example of how students and staff at Kennedy Rock! 

The idea for the talent show, said School Counselor Melissa Zurawiecki, came from the students themselves and was brought up during grade level 'Lunch Bunch' meetings held weekly throughout January with her and Hajduk.

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"These weekly sessions gave us a chance to talk and the opportunity to find out what our students want to see happen in their school. During a typical year, we'd be planning all sorts of in-school activities and celebrations but, right now, school just looks and feels different so we wanted to come up with something our students would enjoy and look forward to," said Zurawiecki, telling TAPinto that a student talent show was one of the reoccurring suggestions and tying it in with International Boost Self-Esteem Month seemed appropriate. 

"This is a great way to incorporate it," she said. "What better way for our students to feel good about themselves then by having the opportunity to show off their talents."

To enter the talent show, students were to record a short video of themselves performing their talent and, over the course of three weeks, submissions came pouring in. Earlier this month Zurawiecki began working on compiling all the videos into an hour-long virtual presentation that is emceed by Kennedy fourth graders Mackensie Lillia and Hunter Winsmann. 

"They all did such an amazing job and many of them shared that these were things they had picked up during quarantine," Zurawiecki said, adding that she had the privilege of seeing all the videos ahead of time and 'was completely blown away' by what the students can do. 

"They were all so excited to show off their talents and the talent show absolutely showed their school spirit. The smiles as they are performing and how proud they are is definitely a self-esteem booster and it shows through," she said. 

"I am so impressed by the willingness and confidence of our students at Kennedy to showcase their talents to our school and community," added Hajduk. "The virtual talent show was a great way to bring our students together as a school and share with each other how talented they are. I could not be prouder…."

The Kennedy School Virtual Talent Show can be viewed by the community online at beginning Friday, Feb. 26. 

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