New skills uncovered at Discover Your Talent Day

Woodworking, candle making and cake decorating are not skills typical of the under-10 crowd, but last Saturday local companies and hobbyists offered Marcellus students the chance to explore these and other interests for the 3rd annual Discover Your Talent Day at Driver Middle School.

Organized by Peggy Morocco and a group of parent volunteers in 2007, the event has grown steadily and this year more than 250 students had registered to participate and 20 local vendors and residents lent their time and expertise to the event.

Students experienced two one-hour sessions of hands-on skills to inspire new interests, along with demonstrations by Tearney's Karate and Ashford Irish Dance.

At the Clown Arts workshop, Bonkers the clown, aka retired K.C. Heffernan art teacher Dave Bailey, said he thought the appeal for most kids in a day like Discover Your Talent Day was being hands-on and seeing the results of that effort. In the Clown Arts class, students first learned about face painting, then balloon animals.

"I think it's a wiener dog," said one young participant as she twisted her balloon to resemble a dog.

Down the hallway, students explored the art of candle making, under the direction of Marcellus-based candle entrepreneur Nancy MacLachlan, who owns Scents From Above.

This class required a level of care, as MacLachlan asked the students to make candles to give to someone special so they would not be keeping lit candles in their bedrooms - safety first.

"Doing it for someone special is the greatest satisfaction for them," MacLachlan said.

Parent volunteer Heather Brenneman, whose 9-year-old daughter Katie was participating in the Irish Step Dancing and Pottery classes, enthusiastically called the event the "best thing ever."

"They have so many different things," she added of the range of workshops.

When asked whether they were having fun, all 10 young potters at one table raised their hands - but not their eyes, intent on their newfound passions for clay.

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