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Wayne Post
  • Local student judges talent show in Vietnam

  • Palmyra-Macedon freshman, Sierra Benson, served as the International Student Judge for “Call It Talent: Hanoi” on Jan. 19 in Hanoi, Vietnam.

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  • Palmyra-Macedon freshman, Sierra Benson, served as the International Student Judge for “Call It Talent: Hanoi” on Jan. 19 in Hanoi, Vietnam.  
    This event, modeled after the “American Idol” TV show, was to raise awareness and funds for a handpicked Vietnamese student to attend a six-week program at the Academy of Business Leadership (ABL) during the summer of 2013 at UCLA in Los Angeles, Ca. ABL is a dynamic and innovative non-profit organization that is at the forefront of providing business and leadership education to the youth of the world.
    A close friend of Sierra’s, Sidney Hong, the “Call It Talent: Hanoi” event creator and manager, is a sophomore at the United Nations International School in Hanoi, Vietnam, and an alumni of the ABL program.
    “I attended the ABL program in 2011 and attest that in addition to teaching me how to write a business plan and pitch to venture capitalists, how to analyze the stock market, and the importance of giving back; it boosted my confidence and ability to reach my goals,” Sidney said. “This is a gift I want to offer to students in Vietnam.”
    Once chosen for the Judging Panel Sierra was tasked with raising the funds to go to Vietnam.  
    “I had to step out of my shell to make this happen and it was so worth it. I am incredibly thankful for all the wonderful friends and family that went above and beyond to support me.  It could not have happened without them,” says Sierra.  
    The Judging Panel included:  Ms. Anna Ouroumian, CEO of the Academy of Business Leadership; Ms. Sierra Benson, Honors Student at Pal-Mac High School; and Mr. David Murray, R&B Singer and Songwriter who recorded his latest song “Heart of Gold” that is co-written by superstar AKON.
    24 talented youth of Hanoi competed to be the #1 Talent and numerous students volunteered as back stage and lighting helpers. All acts were stellar and the winner was Chi Mai, a Junior at UNIS who received a standing ovation after singing Christina Aguilera’s “Lady Marmalade”; second place was Khanh An Vu (vocal), Bum Soo Kim (pianist), and Masatoki Teranishi (guitarist) playing Charice’s “In This Song”; and third place was Pixelated Dance Crew performing a mashup of techno dance songs (check them out on YouTube). The event was a huge success.
    The experience for Sierra extended to include attending classes at UNIS, visiting several temples, shopping daily at outdoor markets, touring Hanoi Hilton Prison, Hoan Kiem Lake, the Old Quarter, Water Puppet Theatre, and much more.  After surviving the crazy drivers, she relaxed in Da Nang where she had her first massage (a $90 USD massage here in the United States was just $9 USD in Vietnam) and learned how to surf.  Sierra’s words,
    “I had an amazing trip and met a lot of great people,” Sierra said. “It was much different from being in Palmyra. I would love to do it again. Experiences like this are hard to find and I am thankful to have been a part of it!”

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