Simon, your job is safe.


Last Friday I joined a panel of judges who were assigned to decide the winners of the 2010 Call Backs talent show. I quickly learned it was no easy task.


The judges included Mark McKinney, superintendent of the Hesperia Unified School District; Steve Forell of Herff Jones; Chris Joy of Jostens; and Stacey Beasley of Lifetouch.


Our work certainly was cut out for us as this incredible program at Oak Hills High which was expertly organized by Lainie Lugo showcased the best talent from Hesperia's three comprehensive high schools: Oak Hills, Hesperia and Sultana.


I quickly learned that my personality traits (I'm an INFP, according to the Meyers-Briggs test, if you're curious) made it difficult for me to become too critical of any of the contestants. They all are so talented.


The contestants:


In the dancing category: Gabriella Enriquez and Franky Bernal of Oak Hills; MacKenzie Young of Sultana; Camery Cano, Kelsey Cocek and Jaymee Aria of Hesperia; and Tasha Taylor of Sultana.


The soloists: Erik West of Oak Hills; Mercedes Robinson of Hesperia; Karissa Hunnicutt of Sultana; and Rebecca Parra of Oak Hills.


The instrumentalists: Nico Gallion and Cota Sniegowski of Hesperia; Mark Barajas and Janice Hurtado of Oak Hills; siblings Christian and Carly Gross of Sultana; Michael De La Torre; Nick Ornelas and Michael Bautista of Hesperia; and Joshua Prickett of Oak Hills.


I was familiar with two of them: Tasha Taylor, who I wrote a story on (including her older sister Kailey) and guitarist Michael Bautista, a versatile musician who I have taken photos of playing taps on trumpet at a Veterans Day celebration. But the others were a pleasure to see for the very time.


I was completely wowed by Mercedes Robinson, who sang Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You," which was made famous by Whitney Houston. I wasn't alone. The crowd went wild, and the panel of judges voted her best in the soloist category.


The results of the class acts productions, however, were not made public. Apparently due to an over abundance of school spirit (i.e. heckling), the show's producers elected to keep those results private, at least for the time being. I don't blame them.


Both as an attendee and a judge the Call Backs show was thoroughly enjoyable and demonstrated the immense talent we have here in Hesperia.


***


It was quite an honor to receive commendations on behalf of the Star staff from the county and city. Gil Zank, who I've known for more than 20 years, presented a resolution on behalf of First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt.


"Whereas, over the past 10 years, the Hesperia Star has consistently reported local news with a personal touch and has become a staple of the community," a portion of the county resolution stated.


The city proclamation, which was presented by Mayor Thurston "Smitty" Smith, stated, "Whereas, during the past 10 years, the Star has covered everything from community events; human interest stories; youth and senior activities; elections; actions considered and taken by our local elected officials for the City of Hesperia, Hesperia Recreation and Parks District, Hesperia Unified School District, County, State and Federal offices; Chamber of Commerce activities; and our faith and business communities, as well as many other civic organizations."


The proclamation also congratulated the Daily Press "for their foresight in establishing the Hesperia Star newspaper."


We are grateful for the accolades but mindful that our work is never done.