Talented teens, celebrity guests and special performances all rocked the lot of one of Hollywood's most famous studios as part of the 5th annual "Spotlight on Success." The event was put together by Los Angeles Unified School District's (LAUSD) "Beyond the Bell" branch in association with Nick Cannon's Celebrity High.
It looked like a summer day in New York with over 3,000 students, teachers and volunteers crowding the city streets as they made their way from stage to stage to check out some of the best MCs, DJs, poets and visual artists that their high schools had to offer. Only, it was the middle of Hollywood and those buildings were actually part of a New York set on the Paramount lot.
Nick Cannon hosted the event, which used three stages to allow the middle and high school-aged kids to watch their peers compete for a chance to win part of over $30,000 in scholarships that were awarded throughout the day. Subway, Chipotle and California Chicken Café all did their part to make sure that nobody went hungry, providing ample lunches for everyone in attendance.
Nick spoke to BET.com about why events like this one are so important. "It gives kids the opportunity to be one step closer to their career aspirations" said the newly announced host of Soul Train, adding, "Whether it has to do with journalism, entertainment or whatever, it's necessary to have an alternative extracurricular activity."
As a judge on America's Got Talent, a regular on BET's hit show The Real Husbands of Hollywood and his new gig on the revamped Soul Train, Nick just might be the busiest man in Hollywood, but he still finds time to make music and run his label. "I got a single coming out right now. It's a club record called "Me Sexy," Cannon said before going to check out his recently signed boy band, 4 Count.
Marques Houston also stopped by to support his friend Nick, as did Atlantic Recording artist Trevor Jackson, who will be on 106 & Park, in support of his new single "Like We Grown," which is already making a splash on the iTunes charts.
Other celebs in attendance included The Ranger$ (also on Cannon's label), who announced that they are starring in a new movie, School Dance, directed by Nick Cannon; the OMG Girlz and the LMFAO-discovered Jadagrace, who was presented with a gold plaque while on the red carpet for work on Now 42.
In total, 44 high schools and 14 middle schools made it out. Everyone had fun and, aside from a few sunburns, the event went off without a hitch. At a time when many schools are cutting budgets for arts programs, this event reemphasized why it's so important for young people to be able to have creative outlets.
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(Photo: Jeff Schear/Getty Images)