Kaitlyn Dunaway is hoping to dance her way into the hearts of talent scouts in a few weeks when she attends a talent convention in Atlanta.
The 12-year-old Martinez youngster has been singing, dancing, acting and modeling for years and has won numerous talent contests along the way. Now, the home-schooled sixth-grader wants to woo national talent scouts in an effort to get an acting contract.
"I just hope to do a couple of commercials and maybe a movie," said Kaitlyn, who has recently been cast as the child lead in The Music Man, which is slated to be the first performance at the Columbia County Public Library and Performing Arts Theater when it opens next spring.
Ultimately, Kaitlyn wants to be a dance teacher, voice coach and acting instructor.
"I have a bunch of different things I like to do," she said, adding that her varied interests would make her a good teacher.
Evelyn Dysart, the owner of Dysart Modeling Talent Casting in Augusta, serves as Kaitlyn's modeling and talent coach. She said her student should go far with her talents.
"She is an extraordinary talent and she seems to be a fine young lady," said Dysart, who has instructed Kaitlyn for a few months. "She is very worthwhile, and I think she will create a spark before long."
Kaitlyn will accompany several other students from Dysart to the Modeling Talent Convention in Atlanta, to be held Nov. 24-27. While there, she will compete in several categories, including singing, dancing, modeling and acting.
"It's kind of like a huge talent show," said Kaitlyn, who clogs with Center Stage Dance Academy Inc. in Martinez. "It's mostly for talent scouts who will be there looking for their next representative."
While Kaitlyn eagerly awaits the trip, she is working hard to raise money to cover the expenses of the four-day excursion.
It's a change for a youngster who is used to raising money for others. For example, she held a raffle of all of her Beanie Babies several years ago to raise more than $400 for Cole Wooten, the son of her clogging instructor Pam Wooten, who was born with a rare skin disorder. In a yard sale, she earned nearly $900, which she also gave to the Wooten family.
"Last year, she bought stuffed animals for a girl at MCG and had them delivered to her," said Kaitlyn's mother, Debbie Dunaway.
When the animals were taken to the patient, staffers said the young girl, who had been abused and not smiled for several years, broke into a grin.
"She wins talent shows, and she always wants to give half of what she earns to help poor people," said Ms. Dunaway.
When Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama several months ago, Kaitlyn set up shop at the Wal-Mart in Evans, where she danced for donations, raising more than $1,000. She called syndicated radio host Delilah, who sent in another $1,000 to the American Red Cross in Kaitlyn's name.
"She's always been willing to help other people," her mother said.
This time, though, Kaitlyn needs the support of others to fulfill a dream. Individuals interested in making a donation to Kaitlyn for her trip to Atlanta can mail contributions to her at 4422 Branchwood Drive, Martinez, GA 30907.
"I like it when I make people happy," Kaitlyn said. "It makes me feel good when other people are happy."
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