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Stars will descend upon county





Participants in this year's Famous Figures competition for fifth-graders in Ellis County are in for a treat.

Not only will they be witness to some talented youngsters performing on stage, they will get to do so in comfort.

The 17th annual Hays Arts Council-sponsored event will be 8:30 a.m. Friday in Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center at Fort Hays State University.

Brenda Meder, executive director of the HAC, said she decided to move the event this year because it got a little toasty last year, not only for the audience but for the participants as well.

"I'm very excited about it," Meder said. "I think we have a great list this year, and being at Beach/Schmidt ... it will be great for the kids."

A total of 28 fifth-graders from Ellis County will compete for county honors after qualifying out of their individual schools by researching the life of a famous figure of their choice. Schools are allowed two contestants per number of fifth-grade classrooms in their school to advance to the finals.

This year's list includes sports figures, scientists, painters, singers and actors, military generals, and first ladies. There even is an Antarctic explorer.

A scoring system with points from three judges is used to determine the winners, who also get the opportunity to perform in front of Rotary Club members the Monday following the Famous Figures competition.

Elementary schools participating will be Holy Family, Lincoln, O'Loughlin, Roosevelt, Washington and Wilson from Hays, as well as Victoria and St. Mary's and Washington, both from Ellis.

Participants with the top five scores, including ties, receive trophies, and all 28 finalists receive a medal.

The competition will feature students on stage every five minutes, and the awards ceremony is set for 11:35 a.m.