Middle schoolers sing, dance and draw at art and talent show

Jun 8, 2023

Ever since he was in first grade, Wareham Middle School fifth grader Gavin Pittsley has loved the video game “Team Fortress 2.”

In the game, characters frequently do the prisyadka, a traditional Russian folk dance involving kicking out one’s feet while squatting. 

“I thought to myself, ‘Why not do it in real life?’” Gavin said. 

He did. Gavin performed the dance to rapturous applause at the middle school talent show on Thursday, June 8. Five randomly-selected school staff members served as judges, watching students sing, dance and, in the case of Bianca Fantasia and Stella Park, do improv. 

Gavin came in second place and won $50 in cash. 

“I felt like I could go on [dancing] forever,” Gavin said after the show, “but before I went on, I made 20 trips to the bathroom out of anxiety.” 

Gavin plans to share his winnings with his friend Connor Wornald.

“He’s been with me ever since the first to second grade,” Gavin said, “and I want to show my appreciation for him being there for me.” 

Sixth grade cheerleaders Ashlynn Duggan and Chloe Desrosiers came in first place with a ballet-style dance, choreographed by them and Duggan’s mother Kaitlyn Pohl. Ashlynn and Chloe won $100, and plan to spend it on ice cream, makeup and getting their ears pierced.

“It’s giving a message about depression and stuff,” Ashlynn said about their dance. “We didn’t expect to win first place.” 

“We kind of expected it,” Chloe said. “But it was shocking.” 

Seventh grader and hip-hop dancer Justys Rideout popped, locked and leapt to the song “Fight Back” by NEFFEX, which had to be frequently muted due to its explicit lyrics. He won third place and $25, which he plans to share with his family. 

“I think it really sends a direct message to stop bullying kids and to let kids be kids,” Justys said of the song he danced to. “I really connected to the music and felt it.” 

It took him six months to learn the choreography, taught to him by his mother Kristina Marley. Marley owns the MOVE Makers 508 dance studio on Main Street, where Justys has studied for 11 years. 

“I couldn’t have made the piece without him,” Marley said. “He was the perfect vessel for the message.” 

There was also an art show to go along with the talent show. Paintings, drawings, ceramics and dioramas made by students were on display throughout the first floor of the middle school. 

Seventh grader Kailyn Ostiguy frequently draws birds, because she is fascinated by their flight, complex bodies and wings. She also drew a colorful gradient wheel, with lines through it in the shape of her heartbeat. The center of the wheel is off balance, representing the stress she was feeling at the end of the school year. 

“Drawing what I feel like, and what I want to draw, is really something I love,” Ostiguy said. “It’s something to do when I’m bored, and it’s always there.”