IPS puts on 11th annual America’s Got Special Talent

Kris, Long

Months of hard work put into the show paid off last Thursday night when members of Interpersonal Skills and Big Lakes Developmental Center performed for a packed house.

This was the 11th America’s Got Special Talent put on by MHS and by far the longest. The students put together 39 acts compared to previous years’ 20 to 30.

“This year the students in IPS really stepped up and came up with really creative acts that … we’ve never seen before,” principal organizer Jamie Schnee said.

The students had been rehearsing the performance every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for the past two months to be prepared for the night.

“[There were] lots of nervous people but once [they got] up on stage and saw how loving the audience was [the nervousness was] just gone,” Schnee said.

As well as community members and IPS students, a lot of the show was put together by IPS paraeducators as well as members of Thespians who helped run the sound and lights.

The performances ranged from singing and dancing to showing off soccer skills. The opening act featured a rock band performing Headlight Rival’s “Whole Wide World” with junior David Sherwin as the lead singer.

According to Sherwin, this was the first opportunity the group has had to perform in front of such a large audience.

“I’m very proud of [the show],” junior David Sherwin said. “I loved every minute of it.”

The acts all included people with physical disabilities as well as people with speech impairments and other intellectual disabilities. America’s Got Special Talent is the only talent show in the Manhattan area that allows anybody to take the stage. For the people who participated, there are few opportunities to perform in front of an audience.

“Not everybody gets the opportunities like this to get up and show what they can do,” senior Anna Huey said. “Everybody should have that right.”

America’s Got Special Talent gave this right to a total of 77 students and members of the community. All of the money raised via donations collected at the event will go to support the IPS program.

“I think that what’s so cool about the show is we invite anybody to do whatever they want to do,” Schnee said. “If your heart’s desire is to go up and sing a song in front of everybody then we invite you to come up and do it. The thing that’s also … cool is that it’s not perfect, it’s not a perfect show but that’s kind of the point. Everybody goes up and gives their all even if it’s not a technically perfect show, it’s perfect to us, and that’s what matters.”