junior stole the Walker’s Rising Stars show Monday in front of a sold out show at Ruth Eckerd Hall.
The performing arts student was competing in the drama category, along with 29 other students countywide for thousands of dollars in Pinellas Education Foundation scholarships (in each category).
After months of practice and training, Zeph walked away with first place honors in drama, the title of “fan favorite” and “audience favorite,” which landed him a new Apple iPhone and a $7,000 scholarship for his monologue from “Welcome to Hell” by Rowan Atkins.
The young singers, dancers, actors, musicians, artists and videographers spent the entire day rehearsing. The big day culminated with a four-act performance, in which they were judged.
Zeph seemed positive and collected with devil horns and a clipboard costume.
“There’s scholarships for sports, so why not for us? This is what we do, and we’re pretty darn good at it,” Zeph said backstage.
Erin McCary of Clearwater High School also performed in the drama category. With bright red lipstick and shiny diamond earrings, she admitted that the group of talent was humbling.
“Today at rehearsal, I was just looking around and thinking, ‘I wish I could be around this all of the time’,” she said.
Lydia Baldwin of Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School, who wore a flowing evening gown for her third act performance. She drifted through the hallway backstage and stopped.
“We’ve all been practicing for months, and it all comes down to this,” she said.
After Act IV, the audience was then instructed to text in their vote for their favorite performances of the night.
After only a few minutes, the votes were in.
Fan favorite honors went to:
- Adam Zeph (Dunedin High School),
- Janet Tauszik (East Lake High School),
- Lauralie Bradford (Clearwater High School),
- Jake Bray (Lakewood High School),
- Ryan Monroe (PCCA at Gibbs High School) and
- Aubrey Cheek (Palm Harbor High University).
First-place scholarships ($7,000) went to:
- Kelsie Conley (PCCA at Gibbs High School) for visual arts,
- Victoria Statzer (PCCA at Gibbs High School) for dance,
- Sam Jones (St. Petersburg Collegiate High School) for instrumental,
- Ryan Monroe (PCCA at Gibbs High School) for vocal,
- Adam Zeph (Dunedin High School) for drama and
- Josh Faylo and Chase Lewellen (East Lake High School) for video arts.
For a full list of winners, visit this link.