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Scholars showcase their talents at Walker’s Rising Stars

May 13, 2022

Award-winning students

Six students won first place awards in the annual scholarship competition.

The Walker’s Rising Stars competition is a year-long initiative that helps students hone their audition, portfolio, and performance skills. Students compete for college scholarships in six categories: Culinary Arts, Dance, Instrumental, Theater, Visual Arts, and Vocal Performance.

The program, which features live performances, was created 19 years ago by  St. Petersburg neurosurgeon Dr. Jeffrey Walker and the Pinellas Education Foundation. During that time, the program has awarded more than $800,000 in scholarships.

During the show, the foundation announced that Dr. Walker, who is also a foundation board member, pledged a $2 million gift to keep the program alive in perpetuity.

“As we approach our 20th anniversary, and in thinking about how to give back, I knew I wanted to continue to support students. I love kids; they’re the future,” Walker said in a statement. “I love the arts, and I owe everything I have to education. This program makes a material difference in these students’ lives, and that makes me happy.”

Congratulations to the first place winners: 

  • Theater: Jake Tottle, East Lake High
  • Vocal: Sahara Seifried, Gibbs High School
  • Instrumental Music: Nicholas Ivy, Gibbs High School
  • Culinary Arts: Brannen Fairbank, Osceola Fundamental High School
  • Visual Arts: Luna Garcia, East Lake High School
  • Dance: Kiley Campbell, Largo High School

Dr. Jeffrey Walker donates $2 million to keep the event alive in perpetuity