By Joshua Baethge


For the Van Alstyne Leader


It’s time for local stars to shine again.


The third annual “Melissa’s Got Talent” competition takes place Saturday at the Melissa ISD Competition Gym, 2950 Cardinal Drive.


Proceeds benefit the Melissa Education Foundation, a nonprofit founded in 2005 to fund student scholarships and teacher grants.


This year’s event features 16 acts including singers, guitarists, pianists and even a baton twirler. They will compete for a $500 grand prize as well $200 category prizes for best ensemble, instrumental, vocal and dance.


“The event is coming together well,” Melissa Education Foundation Executive Director Kellie Maynard said. “We have a little bit of everything this year.”


The friendly talent competition is one of three primary events the foundation hosts each year. The biggest is the Fall Gala, which raises close to $100,000.


There is also a Memorial Day weekend softball tournament that brings in around $10,000. That event typically involves about 15 teams comprised of area students, teachers, first responders, businesses and community members. The 13th annual tournament will take place May 23 at Zadow Park.


“Melissa’s Got Talent” is expected to net nearly $5,000.


It replaced the once popular Donkey Basketball fundraiser, which was held from 2013-17.


According to Maynard, that event had run its course, although it will likely return at some point down the road.


For now, it’s time to highlight the many skills that Melissa residents have to offer.


“Because it’s Texas and sports are big here, we wanted to showcase the fine arts,” Maynard said.


Contestants range from elementary school students to adults. The only requirement is that performers must reside in Melissa.


Judging contestants this year will be two fine arts teachers as well as a third member of the community who is not formally associated with Melissa ISD schools.


Maynard says the goal is to create a fun community event that is open to all levels of talent. That can include anything from guitar shredders to tumbling kindergarteners.


“I really think that the level of talent we have here that we showcase compares to any big city I’ve seen,” Maynard said. “And the support for them goes a long way.”


Tickets for Melissa’s Got Talent can be purchased for $10 in advance online at melissaeducationfoundation.com/talent-show, as well as at any Melissa ISD school campus. They will also be sold at the event.


Pizza from Paleo’s will be available for purchase along with an assortment of concession items.


Doors are scheduled to open at 6 p.m. The entertainment is set to start at 6:30 with a scene performed by Melissa Middle School theater students.


Talent show winners are expected to be announced by 9 p.m.