'Fruitport's Got Talent' — and heart

Krystle Wagner • Jul 21, 2015 at 1:28 PM

About 600 community members packed the Fruitport Middle School auditorium to capacity Wednesday night for the fifth annual "Fruitport’s Got Talent" show. Proceeds from the event will go toward care expenses for Fruitport High School alumna Emmy Cerniglia, who has been diagnosed with Batten disease, a disorder that impacts the nervous system.

The amount raised Wednesday night was not yet available. During the show’s “miracle minute,” attendees raised $427 that will also be donated to the Cerniglia family.

Talent show judges Cindy Briggs, Paul Pretzer, Tom Crotty, Hailie Richards and Fruitport Community Schools Superintendent Bob Szymoniak watched 14 acts before giving Show Stopper awards to Dalton Pope for his “Original Act,” and Janelle West for her original lyrics and piano composition for “Enough.”

The Most Original award went to Lauren Sander, David Wills and Olivia Norwood for reciting “We are Artist.”

Cain Burling received the Judge’s Choice award for playing “Dueling Guitars” by August Rush, and Boss Ntungane took home the Crowd Favorite award for break dancing to “Mac Daddy” by TobyMac.

To see a photo gallery of the show, CLICK HERE.

Emmy Cerniglia’s younger brother, Sam Cerniglia, hosted the event. He recently appeared on NBC-TV’s singing reality show “The Voice.”

Suellen Cerniglia, Emmy’s mother, said it has been wonderful to see how the community has rallied around her family.

Last month, about 500 people turned out to celebrate Emmy’s 27th birthday and join in a prayer circle. Her mother said Wednesday’s event will once again reiterate to Emmy that she matters.

“We have so much to be grateful for, and this community is one of those things,” Suellen said.

Sam Cerniglia said the community’s outpouring of love has been overwhelming and is a “beautiful thing.”

“I’m so proud to be part of a community that has so much love,” he said.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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