A good summer leads student to do a good deedSPES second grader took first in county fair talent show, fourth at state fair and donated some of her winnings to buy school supplies
By: Nathan Hansen, Rosemount Town Pages
Brooke Kearney had a very successful summer, and when the first day of school rolled around on Tuesday, she shared some of that success with the rest of the students at Shannon Park Elementary School.
Kearney, a 7-year-old who started second grade this week at SPES, came to school Tuesday with two plastic bags filled with colored pencils, glue sticks and other school supplies she wanted to donate to students who can’t afford their own supplies.
Kearney donated about $30 worth of supplies in all, and the whole thing started with a gift of a hula hoop.
Well, sort of.
Kearney’s grandmother gave her the hula hoop in February. Kearney, then a Shannon Park first grader, had never really hula hooper before, but she was a natural. In no time she was spinning the hoop from her waist to her chest, up to her neck and then down to her knees. When Shannon Park held a variety show last spring, Kearney put together a routine she performed to “This Little Light of Mine.”
Kearney had fun performing in front of the other students at SPES, so she asked her parents to sign her up for the talent show at the Dakota County Fair.
“She said, ‘Mom, I want to perform for the world,’” Kearney’s mother, Lori, said Tuesday.
The rest of the world might have to wait, but Kearney definitely impressed Dakota County. She won her age group at the fair’s talent show and brought home a trophy, $100 and a trip to compete at the Minnesota State Fair.
“I really thought I would get second place, but I got first,” Kearney said.
Competitors are judged on talent, entertainment and stage presence. Kearney, whose smile is bright despite a few missing teeth, had no trouble winning over the audience. In her introduction at the state fair she said the most important thing to remember before taking the stage was to eat ice cream. And to remember to get sprinkles.
Kearney won a preliminary round Sept. 2 at the state fair. That earned her a spot in the Sept. 4 finals. She didn’t place, but she still brought home another $40.
Kearney had plenty of friends and family watching her compete. SPES principal Michael Guthrie was at the fair for the finals Saturday, as were Kearney’s first grade teacher and her music teacher. Kearney’s kindergarten teacher watched her in the semifinals.
“She just lights up the stage,” Guthrie said.
Kearney said her parents brought up the idea of donating some of her winnings. The family has always made giving back a priority. They sponsor a child in Guatemala and Kearney donated her hair to Locks of Love, a group that provides wigs for cancer patients. She plans to donate again once she has her school pictures taken. Kearney said her parents suggested donating $10. She chose $30. She shopped with her grandmother and brought the supplies to school Tuesday.
“I don’t really want $90 or $100,” she said. “$70 is good enough to have.”
Kearney created her moves and put together her act by herself. She runs across the stage with the hula hoop spinning around her waist. She spins in place while the hoop continues to rotate around her. It all seems to come naturally.
“It’s fun, because it’s good exercise to move your hops,” Kearney said. “I taught my mom and dad.”
She’s teaching a few lessons about generosity, too.