Melina's Farewell Speech
To the members of RapSohD and to all the contestants at the 2002 Journey
Fulfils the Dream Competition:
This was supposed to be my farewell speech. I was supposed to tell you about
my year as Miss Talented Teen Canada 2001 and my participation at the Hal
Jackson's Talented Teen Scholarship Competition in New York last year.
Since I cannot speak right now, due to my recent surgery, I will then write
it. Maybe somebody else will read it out on my behalf. But let me begin.
A year ago I took a chance by participating in the RapSohD competition
and performing one of my own original compositions, usually a risky undertaking
for any budding artist. At the time I didn't seriously expect to win since
I was up against many very talented girls representing different types of
performing arts. To my great surprise and delight, it happened. I won. Everything
happened so fast, I remember it all as in a dream: the crown, the flowers,
the gifts, the applause, the photos... the tears of happiness. Happiness because
somebody else besides my family (who must be biased!) believed in me, when
I, myself, was full of doubts. What if I can't make a sound, or I am off-key,
what if I mess up the piano part, what if nobody likes my song.... So many
Well, it worked out just fine and here I was, wearing a crown and a banner
and representing Canada in New York and having the time of my life, surrounded
by all those other talented girls from many parts of the world. Wow! What
a week this turned out to be! Loads of fun activities, Broadway shows, fancy
banquets, press conferences.... A week in the life of a performing artist.
Whirlwind, dizzying, tiring, deliciously entertaining. I met so many interesting
and exciting people. Just to think I was on the same stage as Alicia Keys
and I have a picture with her! I stood right next to Brian McKnight in another
photo! I set foot on the stage at the famous Appollo Theatre, in front of
a full house on their Amateur Night finals. I personally met Mr Hal Jackson
and his family. How can anyone forget all this?
Then there were the numerous rehearsals for our final performance. The costumes,
the music, the energy! All our wonderful coaches who turned us all into great
dancers never lost faith in us. We could do it and we did it. And we had a
In the end, even though I didn't win the grand prize, I had a really good
crack at it. There were no losers in New York. We all came away with a new
fantastic experience and great memories. Happily I also came away with a nice
scholarship which will surely help when I start college this fall.
I have to thank RapSohD from the bottom of my heart for giving me
this unique opportunity. To all the committee members who toiled to get me
properly organised and ready for the trip to New York, for your confidence
in me, thank you. Norma, your kindness and understanding of my teenage mind
and needs have been priceless. My mom is still marvelling on how you put up
with me for a whole week in the Big Apple, not to mention the roller-coaster
times before getting there! A big thank you and a hug.
To you, my new young friends who are undertaking this journey, keep the
dream alive. Your talents will see you through good times and make the bad
times easier. Your talent is part of what defines you and nobody can take
it away from you. Good luck to all!