Jonesboro girl in competition

By Ed Brock

Rachel Holmes' kindergarten teacher was the first to recognize the natural talent growing in her young pupil.

"I would never be quiet in her class," said Holmes, now 17 and a student at Jonesboro High School. "She finally went to my mother one day and said ?I think this girl should be an actress.'"

On Saturday Holmes let her talent shine through at the Kiwanis Club's Georgia District Talent Showcase. Though she did not place from among the 23 acts in the show, Holmes' competition was fierce.

"It was a very, very difficult choice for them to make," said Addie Alberghini, chairwoman of the event. "This was a tremendous show. The caliber and quality of the performances (in the district show) just gets higher and higher."

Holmes and the others in the show were competing for up to $3,500 in scholarship money.

Holmes, who placed second in the high school division of the Southlake Kiwanis Club Talent Showcase on March 13, went to the state competition because the first place winner of the Clayton County competition was too young to compete in Saturday's event.

A regular member of the Clayton Alliance for Summer Theatre acting troupe, Holmes has music in her blood. Her father, Bryan Holmes, was the drummer for the band "The Producers" that performed hits like "She Sheila" and "What's He Got?" in the 1980s.

"Her vocal talent was God-given," Bryan Holmes said.

The older Holmes recalled seeing that talent when his daughter was 5 years old and had just sung in a competition.

"She said ?Dad, I've just got to sing for the people,'" Bryan Holmes said. "And that was when she was five."

This summer Rachel Holmes will participate in the Governor's Honors Program at Valdosta University.

Last week Holmes and Maurice Hawk, the 15-year-old Jonesboro High School freshmen who won first place in the county competition, performed for the members of the Southlake Kiwanis Club.

Hawk, who played on a keyboard rather than the drum set that won the competition for him, has competed in the local talent showcase for three years. He's not at all discouraged by the fact that he was eliminated from the state competition based on a technicality.

"It's on for next year," Hawk said.

Hawk said he's been playing drums since he was born, but his mother Nettie Hawk didn't recognize that at first. To her, Maurice, who said he was "knocking holes in the wall" by the time he was crawling was just making noise.

"The wall was kind of his symbols and the stairs were his snare or bass drums," Nettie Hawk said. "It never dawned on me that he was taking after his Dad."

Maurice Hawk's father Aaron Hawk is a musician, too, and he's proud of both his sons. Maurice's 18-year-old big brother Andre is a rapper.

"I wanted both of them to be musicians," Aaron Hawk said.

The Southlake Kiwanis Talent Showcase has three divisions, elementary school, middle school and high school. In the elementary school division, Arnold Elementary School 5th grader Jennifer Evans won first place, Smith Elementary 2nd grader Romie Willams won second place and Kemp Elementary School 2nd grader Mary Ramsaier won third place.

In the middle school division Riverdale Middle School 6th grader Shequoia Harris won first place, Lovejoy Middle School 7th grader Gaby Ramsaier took second and M.D. Roberts Middle School 7th grader Chelsea Walters won third place.

Northgate High School junior Tori O'Bryant won third place in the high school division.