KILAUEA — Dominica DeTrolio’s role model is her mother.
“When she was younger, her mom didn’t help her or give her money,” DeTrolio said. “She had to pay for everything herself. She had multiple jobs so she could pay for school and food. She was able to pay for college and become successful.”
DeTrolio, a sixth-grader at Hanalei School, was the winner of the “What My Mother Means to Me” essay contest.
“She has shown me you can accomplish anything if you stick with it and believe in yourself,” DeTrolio continued. “She tells me that I have the potential to succeed if I do well in school and soccer, and if I always try my best, even when I feel like I can’t succeed.”
DeTrolio presented her essay Saturday night during the first-ever North Shore “We Love Our Mothers” student talent contest.
The contest, which was hosted by the Aloha Angels, boasted the talents of 15 North Shore students.
Almost 400 people attended the show, which was held at Kauai Christian Academy community center, said Rice Cox, president of Aloha Angels.
The students competed for $200 cash prizes and displayed a variety of talents — from Tahitian dance and gymnastics to piano and singing.
The students were judged by Ron Margolis, a “musically talented Realtor,” Marion Paul, director of Keiki to Career, and Sara Morimoto, a student at Kauai Community College.
“We were told to judge on originality, and that’s what we did,” said Margolis.
There was also a “People’s Choice” category.
“As important as academic performance is, students who excel in the performing arts also need our recognition and encouragement,” said Rebecca Hart, a Hanalei School teacher who served as emcee for the evening. “That’s why we’re here: to showcase their talents and perhaps to send them on their way to becoming the next Justin Bieber or Taylor Swift.”
The winners were:
w Grades K-2: Lexi Hussey, from Kanukiapono School: Tahitian dancing.
w Grades 3 and 4: Bodhi Jones, Kai Mootz, Curren Pope and Sawyer Rogoff, from Hanalei School: hip-hop dance.
w Grades 5 and 6: Tie between Serena Bryan and Bohdi Moomaw, from Kilauea School: comedy skit; and Robbin Mizushima, from Hanalei School: pianist.
w “People’s Choice” award: Tie between Robbin Mizushima and Kai and Kiana Mertz, a brother and sister duo from Hanalei School who performed to “Hey Soul Sister.”
After accepting his award, Mizushima, a fifth-grader, took time to thank his mom.
“To my mom, and all the moms out there, thank you,” he said.
Proceeds from the event totalled $4,100 — a combination of ticket sales and an auction of a two-night stay at the St. Regis Princeville Resort, which went for $1,100. The money will help fund after-school programs at the three schools, Cox said.
The winner of the St. Regis stay-cation was Mike Fleiss, creator of “The Bachelor,” who attended the show with his wife, Laura Kaeppeler-Fleiss, Miss America 2012.
The two are in the process of moving to Kauai from Los Angeles with their baby, Benjamin.
Kaeppeler-Fleiss, a vocal teacher, said she got involved with the show after she met Cox at an event on Kauai, who asked her if she’d help with teaching vocal lessons.
“I was honored to do it,” she said.
Kaeppeler-Fleiss and Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr., who served as the auctioneer, ended the night with a duet, singing “America the Beautiful.”
Aloha Angels has already booked the Kauai War Memorial convention hall as next year’s venue for the show, on May 12, 2017. There will be morning and evening performances, Cox said.