Night of Glitter and Glamour, January 25, 2007
Takes the Stage, January 25, 2007
Teen Style and Creativity, January 19, 2006
out to teens through performing arts July 7, 2004
District Chronicles - January, 10 2002
Night of Glitter and Glamour
left, Olubukola Oriowo of Bowie High School takes part
in the fourth annual Teens Court School Fashion Battle
at DAR Constitution Hall on Saturday. Twelve Maryland
and D.C. high school teams performed runway shows fusing
fashion and theater. Above, Northwestern High’s
Karen Claxton, left, and Asha Gamble.
Toccara Jones, left, one of the event’s hosts
and a former contestant on “America’s Next
Top Model,” helps Duke Ellington School of the
Arts junior Ayana Reed dress. At right, Duke Ellington
sophomore Kailasa Aqeel.
Harmon of Bowie High School, above, and, at right from
left, Duke Ellington School of the Arts’ De’Sean
Dooley, Duke Ellington sophomore Kailasa Aqeel and DuVal
High’s Arielle Dukes take part in the fourth annual
Teens Court School Fashion Battle at DAR Constitution
Hall on Saturday. Twelve high school teams from Maryland
and the District performed eight-minute
runway shows fusing fashion and theater. Students designed
and created their clothing and
developed scene ideas, backdrops and stage props.
High School’s Brandi Rhinehart crawls out of a
cage during her school’s performance. Prince George’s
County schools took the three top spots: Suitland finished
second, behind Largo and ahead of Crossland.
High School’s Mikale Ferguson had her makeup applied
by classmate Brittany Reid. Largo’s winning team
received $1,000 to support the school’s performing
arts program and an expenses-paid trip to New York.
Teen Style and Creativity
By Yawandale Birchett-Thompson
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School Teams In Fashion Battle
faux-forest painted walls and sparkling crystal chandeliers
of the grand ballroom at Camelot of Upper Marlboro provided
the perfect setting for the Teens Count School Fashion
Battle 2006. And this year's participants did not disappoint.
turned as teams from Eleanor Roosevelt, Charles H. Flowers, Laurel, Parkdale, Suitland, Friendly,
Largo, Frederick Douglass and DuVal high schools in Prince George's and Archbishop Carroll High School
in the District, strutted their stuff onstate Sunday in fashions they had chosen or had designed and made.
event drew a crowd of about 1,700 -- according to organizers -- to the conference and banquet center on the
grounds of Evangel Cathedral
The '80s punk look
was the dominant style for the evening. Girls adorned in garb that looked as if it had been plucked from
Madonna's pre-"Material Girl" closet sported vibrant red shoes, black tights and skirts, and fingerless gloves.
The guys stepped out in sleeveless T-shirts, square-shouldered jackets and loose jeans.
Douglass and Archbishop Carroll tied for first place,
splitting the $1,000 prize. DuVal won second place and
a check for $300, while Charles H. Flowers took third
place and $200. The prize money will go to the schools'
performing arts programs.
presented for the third year, features students who are mostly from Prince George's County, and
aims to foster such characteristics as good sportsmanship and positive self-image. Last year, 1,200
people attended the program, which was held at the University of Maryland.
Tracy M. Cooper
founded the fashion battle, presented annually during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. She
said she wanted to give teenagers a more creative way to express themselves.
started this based on the need for quality programs
in our community," Cooper said, "These kids need a healthy
activity in a safe environment. They want to come out."
Cooper came up with a name
for the event and secured non-profit status. She has found venues to host the shows and people to help produce
them. Students themselves audition the models and choreographers, and they find or design and make the clothes.
raise money for staging materials and compose and arrange background music.
from each school are required to create a 10-minute
fashion segment. The segments must mix fashion with
theatrics. A panel of judges, encouraged by cheering
students in the audience, decide the winners.
"The show was great," said
Antonio Webb, 18, a Mohawk-wearing Roosevelt High senior who was one of the models. "I never did a show before.
I had a lot of fun."
Letia Naylor, a 17-year-old
student at the SEED Public Charter School in the District, attended the show and liked it.
think it's nice; it keeps people entertained and off
of the streets," said Naylor, a fan of fashion. "It's
a good way to keep everybody together."
out to teens through performing arts
By Lisa R. Rhodes (LAUREL LEADER)
Email this story to a friend
Nicholls models clothing in a Teens Count fashion show
July 11 at the Jokes on Us Comedy Club. Nicholls was
performing in a skit called "Emotional Rollercoaster."
Photo by Denis Rochefort
weekends ago, a group of teenagers stayed up late two
nights in a row preparing for a youth fashion show July
11 at the Jokes On Us Comedy Club on Main Street.
of the youth had considered going to a party in another
city the night of July 10, but Tracy Cooper convinced
them too much remained to be done preparing clothes
for the show, she said.
16-year-old youth who was scheduled to dance in the
show did attend the party and, tragically, he was shot
to death there, Cooper said.
God (the others) did not go," Cooper said.
youths involved in constructive activities and out of
trouble was one of her purposes when she founded Teens
Count four years ago, Cooper said. The organization
provides performing-arts classes and related activities
for children ages 8 to 18.
Count held an open house at space it has just occupied
on the second level of Laurel Mall on July 10. Classes,
which formerly were held at Jokes On Us, will now be
held at the mall, she said.
said she hopes the organization's new nonprofit status,
achieved two months ago, will encourage community members
to contribute to the youth group.
just really believe in this organization," said
Cooper, a Burtonsville resident. "I'm in it for
the long haul."
Jefferson said Teens Count has benefitted her daughter
Deanna, 18, who has been involved with the organization
for three years.
a cousin and a friend worked with Cooper as coordinators
of the July 11 fashion show, she said. "They've
gained the experience of guiding (other) teenagers to
be models, and learning what it takes to put on a fashion
show, how difficult it really is."
Jefferson said Teens Count put on a particularly good
fashion show last year at Bowie State University, in
which several high schools competed. Laurel High won
the competition, she noted.
said she started Teens Count because she could not find
affordable, high-quality performing-arts classes for
her son and daughter.
event-planning contractor, Cooper said she and her siblings
developed a love of the performing arts from her mother,
who participated in repertory theater in Washington,
Cooper decided to create her own organization, she relied
on family members to provide help with the business
aspects: everything from accounting to submitting the
paperwork for nonprofit status.
addition to modeling, the organization provides theater
and fitness classes, she said.
said she is so passionate about the Teens Count programs
that she has spent some of her retirement fund to keep
the organization going.
Pleasant, an actress and improvisational-theater instructor
for Teens Count, said performing arts classes, specifically
theater, boost young people's self esteem and encourage
them to think on their feet.
learn to resolve conflicts in a positive manner and
use creative language skills," said Pleasant, who
also taught theater classes last summer.
said she solicits instructors through theatrical companies
in the Washington area. The price for Teens Count classes
ranges from free to $275 for a two-week theatrical summer
camp. Some children get scholarships to attend camp.
July 23, Cooper said Teens Count will take the youth
who participated in the Jokes On Us fashion show on
a bus ride to the Fashion Institute of Technology in
New York City.
the future, Cooper said she hopes Teens Count will continue
to grow and that she will some day be able to offer
her programs at no cost.
didn't know (Teens Count) would take over me,"
Cooper said. "It has kept my interest. I enjoy
Count's phone number is 202-413-2950 and its Web site
The organization will start a two-week theater summer
camp on Aug. 2, with possible before- and after-care.
Laurel Mall is providing some scholarships to the camp,
Chronicles - January 10, 2002
Teens Count Provides a Venue for Youth to
Express Themselves Artistically
flocked to the Jokes
On Us Comedy Club in Laurel, MD for the three-week
auditions to participate in "Teen Talent Search 2002"
held by the Teens Count program. The talent show was established
in order to provide exposure for teenagers who are interested
in the arts.
Count is a program dedicated to empower, enrich, enlighten
and encourage children through creative enhancement workshops,"
said Tracy Cooper, the executive director and founder of Teens
Count. "This is an exciting opportunity for them to spotlight
their vocal talents."
True Harmony, a group of teens who attend Charles Herbert
Flowers High School in Maryland
await the arrival of their sixth member, for the performance
of a lifetime. The Maryland-based group will be auditioning
for a place in the "Teen Talent Search 2002." As
the group passes the time, they begin to rehearse their routine.
When their final member, Asia Borders arrives, the group is
finally ready. Dressed in a uniform of all black, they perform
a gospel selection, a cappella. After their debut, each member
is delighted to find out that they are to appear in the talent
search. With excitement, the six members are ready to begin
practicing for a place in the competition.
this isn't our first time performing, we are excited that
we will be displaying our talent in front of our peers,"
said the high school sophomore, Jonathan Patton.
True Harmony has performed in such venues as the Kennedy Center
and are members of the Maryland State Honors Choir.
Carter, the parent of member Cheri Carter is very supportive
of his daughter's accomplishments. He is our chauffeur, manager,
and coach. I am so happy that my father is interested in my
talents and what I ultimately desire to achieve," said
the younger Carter.
While the actual event will not be held until January 26,
2002 at Jokes On Us, the teens involved in the production
will participate in a series of workshops and seminars to
prepare them. In conjunction with the development workshops
to polish every act's performance, Teens Count also teaches
the future stars etiquette.
Cooper assures parents that while everyone has an artistic
ability, the agenda of the program is to groom the children
for success. "We offer the key to unlock your child's
potential. Through all our programs, we encourage positive
thinking and physical awareness.
Participants between the ages of 12 and 17 flocked to the
comedy club with the hopes of being selected to participate
in the talent search. Last year's search included twenty participants.
Thus far, 14 contestants have been selected for this year's
A panel of three judges will select the winners on a point
rating system. By assigning points, judges will rate the performance
of each contestant in the categories of stage presence and
appearance, energy and body language, attitude and expression,
and overall performance. Performers will have three minutes
to facilitate the audience with their vocal performance. Though
the program currently only features vocal performers, they
are looking to expand to other acts in the future.
The winners will be awarded a grand prize of $500 and a spot
as the opening act for the club in February 2002, while second
place winners will receive $200 and third place, $100.
all the effort and hard work that is needed to organize this
event, funding of the different programs is a major concern.
It is important that the final product lives up to expectations.
Cooper and Stash
House Records were responsible for the majority of the
funding last year.
One of these people is Jokes On Us Co-Owner, Everest "Pop"
Thomas, along with Greg Poole and radio personality/comedian
Chris Paul. All three purchased the old dinner theatre and
reconstructed it into a comedy venue. Jokes on Us is usually
an environment dedicated solely to comedy, amusement and nightlife.
When asked why it was important to contribute to this fantastic
occasion, Thomas expressed his sincere appreciation for the
arts and Cooper's endeavor to promote children in the community.
"Jokes on Us Comedy Club strives to foster a relaxed,
yet creative atmosphere where young artists are free to explore
new approaches and techniques in a supportive atmosphere,"
Shamika Washington, a student at Walker Mills Middle School
in Maryland, placed third in last year's contest, and returned
to give the competition her best shot. After performing a
melody of Alicia Keys' songs, Washington explained why she
came back. "I really enjoyed the talent show last year,
I was introduced to different forms of the arts and it was
fun" she said.
more information on Jokes On Us Comedy Club,
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