Lane Tech buddies club puts on spectacular talent show


Megan Mesikapp

Larry Young rapping for his talent show act

By Megan Mesikapp, Assistant Editor

The crowd went wild and shined their flashlights on the auditorium stage as Larry Young began rapping and hyping up the crowd for the last performance before intermission. Lane students and staff watched from the crowd, as singers, ribbon dancers and even a magic act took the stage for the Cluster Program’s Talent Show on March 25. 

The idea for the Cluster Program’s Talent Show is not new. In fact, the Cluster Program had originally set out to put the Talent Show on two years ago, back in 2020, according to Katherine Ellsworth, who is a co-sponsor for the Lane Tech Buddies Club and a Cluster Program teacher.

“We had been practicing and then school shut down. So this will actually be the first one in-person that we actually get to do,” said Ellsworth.

The Lane Tech Buddies Club has regular education students interact with students in the Cluster Program during after-school hours, similar to the PE Leaders class, a physical education elective that takes place during the school day. In the class, students are labeled as leaders and assist students who have special needs with physical activities to create a positive environment. 

Students from the PE Leaders class helped in the Talent Show, but it is primarily students in the Buddies club who assisted. 

“We have three students [in the club] who are coming to each practice. And then we also have students who can volunteer to help to make sure everything goes smoothly,” Ellsworth said. 

According to Ellsworth, students were required to apply to be student leaders. One of the student leaders who is in the Buddies Club, is sophomore Veda Cole, Div. 459 who is also a show director.

Cole has been interested in the buddies program since her sister graduated from Lane. 

“My sister went here, she graduated in 2020, and she [told] me about the program,” Cole said. 

According to Cole, one of the reasons she wanted to become a show director was to make sure that every Cluster Program student felt involved and included. 

“[Cluster Program] teachers mentioned how hard remote learning was and how a lot of the students in the program don’t interact as much as they used to, so having this club and every activity we do can and will help them,” Cole said. 

As for students in the Cluster Program, technically no student is required to participate in the Talent Show, but it is highly encouraged, according to Ellsworth. If a student wanted to participate, they signed up and then got to choose their own act. 

“We have around 15 acts of students doing different things like dancing, singing, standup comedy and ribbon dancing — a lot of cool stuff,” Ellsworth said. 

Students in the Cluster Program practice their acts during the advisory period on advisory days because Cluster Program students leave right after school on the bus and don’t have an opportunity to practice when school ends, according to Ellsworth. 

On March 25, the performances took place during the second and third periods. Teachers were able to sign their classes up to come, and select students were invited to come to watch because of their involvement with the Cluster Program. 

On top of the student-led acts, other teachers at Lane worked together to create acts. For example, Chantelle Fregoso’s dance class put together a dance act.

“Two students who are in Ms. Fregoso’s dance class are partnering up with some of their dance buddies, and they’ll do the performance,” Ellsworth said. 

Lailah West, Div. 379, was one of the dancers in Fregoso’s class. The class only had three weeks to put together two different dance acts with the buddies, according to West. 

West loved helping the buddies learn how to dance. 

“Getting to work with the buddies and teaching them how to dance like us [was my favorite part],” West said.

After the Talent Show, the Cluster Program students celebrated by having a pizza party. They also had their acts ranked. 

The students who got first, second and third place were so happy and definitely deserved it,” said Cole. 

According to Cole, everyone was happy to perform, and what helped was the teachers and students in the audience cheering and supporting the performers. 

“They’ve all worked very hard for this talent show and it was a success. It means a whole lot to the Cluster Program students to see that support from everyone else and it has a positive impact on them,” said Cole.