Cornett wins Idol title
Gonzales — Lake Elementary eighth-grader Jenna Cornett’s performance of “Don’t Stop Believing” helped her win the 2012 Ascension Idol singing competition hosted by the Ascension Fund.
Judge Randy Gautreau said he was impressed with her stage presence and the “growth you’ve made since last year.”
Jenna was one of 20 contestants belting out a wide array of songs from differing genres during the May 8 event at the Gonzales Civic Center.
The singers, all from Ascension Parish public schools, sang tunes made popular by Etta James, Whitney Houston, Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson and other recording artists.
Jenna had a large contingent of fans who jumped to their feet cheering when she was named one of the top five finalists.
Also making it to the top five were Grace Brunfield, Ashlie McGowan, Kaitlyn Cayette and Carleigh Keller.
The top five finalists took the stage for a second performance.
Ashlie, who sang “Church Bells” in her first round of competition, was named first runner-up and Grace won the second runner-up title. Briasia Brown won the title of Fan Favorite.
This was the second year for the singing competition, which is styled after the popular “American Idol” television show.
Ascension Fund treasurer Brad Walker came up with the idea last year of holding the contest as a fundraiser for the nonprofit.
This year’s contest started last month when young singers from around the parish auditioned at local schools and an area restaurant.
Four semifinalists were selected from each school and four wild card performers were also chosen.
Ascension Fund Executive Director Elizabeth Nealy said the 21-year-old fund provides funding for Ascension Parish schools and teachers through its annual grant program.
“The Ascension Fund, an instrument for private sector leadership to reward and inspire excellence in public education, will invest directly in the work of individual teachers and schools through grants for innovative ideas and programs for the public schools of Ascension Parish,” according to the Ascension Fund Web site.
Jenny Heroman, with Eatel Corp, and lawyer Matt Pryor hosted the event.