An otherwise quiet and relaxed day at Camarena Memorial Library in Calexico was disrupted as some children walked through the door in colorful outfits and costumes. As the library staff set up the multipurpose room for the July 12 youth talent show, children and their parents practiced their routines once more before showtime.
Some of the young participants were nervous and stressed out while others practiced and laughed without any other care.
In charge of the event was Lizeth Legaspi, reference librarian at the Camarena library. As she queued up the music that was to be used by the kids in their routines, more and more parents and family members poured into the multipurpose room.
“Our theme for our summer reading program is ‘Showtime’,” said Legaspi. “It’s all about the kids showing off their unique talents and sharing it with the rest of us, something we always want to encourage. Be it that they want to dance or sing or tell a joke. We wanted to give that an outlet.”
The event resulted in an enthusiastic response that went beyond library regulars.
“We originally only had a couple of children that signed up, and they were from the summer reading program. However, yesterday we went to Jefferson Elementary and told the kids attending programs there that they were welcome to sign up, something that got very enthusiastic reactions from the kids there.”
The first contestant was Amy Valtierra, a kindergarten student at Jefferson who presented the audience with various Polynesian dances, complete with the appropriate clothing.
Elma Valtierra, Amy’s mother, sat in the front row with the rest of her family and proudly recorded her daughter as she danced to three different songs.
“Ever since she was three years old Amy has been dancing at the community center, being taught by Alejandra Vargas,” explained Elma. “Ever since, she’s shown so much interest in dancing, particularly Polynesian dancing, that we decided to enroll her at a dance academy in Mexicali.”
Amy wasn’t enrolled in the summer reading program. She was one of the last minute sign-ups from Jefferson elementary and her mother said when her daughter heard of the talent show she insisted on participating.
“When she told me yesterday I was a bit hesitant. I didn’t know if she’d have time to prepare or if she would get nervous at the last minute. But she ended up surprising me and doing her whole routine,” Elma added.
Most of the other contestants were very young children who, despite having very simple routines, managed to charm and delight their families as well as all other families present.