Freshman goes from singing as a hobby to winning district shows


Photo Courtesy of Isabel Kalyoncuoglu

ON STAGE: Freshman Isabel Kalyoncuoglu performs at the Hispanic Heritage Month Talent Show. Kalyoncuoglu won the first place prize after singing “Dos Oruguitas” from the Disney film “Encanto”.

Madeleine Travis, Digital Staff

When freshman Isabel Kalyoncuoglu stepped into the spotlight in 5th grade she never would have dreamed her hobby would turn into a lifetime of shows. Kalyoncuoglu has been singing since a young age but her first memories were when she did a solo show for her elementary school’s 5th-grade choir. The Hispanic Heritage Month Talent show hosted last month, a show that includes singing dancing and crafts, became a big deal when she won first place in the singing division out of the four sections students could enter. 

 “I’ve been singing ever since I can remember, it just came to me, my family isn’t really very musical,” Kalyoncuoglu said. 

From then on she’s gotten more and more experience doing solo shows to the point where she doesn’t even think about the nerves of the stage anymore. Solo shows are stressful for some people to do but Kalyoncuoglu says she’s never really experienced the anxiety of a stand-alone performance.

“I’m not really nervous before,” Kalyoncuoglu said. “l just think, this is actually happening, but you eventually get used to it.”

There were many categories in the Hispanic Heritage talent show that wasn’t just singing; Many people submitted dances, writing, and different art pieces to show off their talents and pride for their lineage. 

“It’s a funny story, actually I didn’t want to enter but my mom was begging me,” Kalyoncuoglu said “She kept saying you have to do that and you can even earn money from it. So I just said fine, I sang, recorded it, and posted it on YouTube, I thought that was gonna be it. Then I would maybe get like a judge’s vote or something like that right? But then they were like, oh, yeah you won and you have to go to the ceremony.” 

Kalyoncuoglu’s initial thoughts on the ceremony weren’t positive but she eventually came around to the idea and had fun doing it. Kalyoncuoglu had people on many fronts backing her about the idea of the contest including her choir teacher, Aaron Bourgeois, who was extremely proud of her for doing such amazing things at a young age.

 “She’s one that’s always been a real go-getter,” Bourgeois said “I’m super proud that so many of our students are just so independent and really able to show their talents in so many different ways. I kind of monitor all the choir stuff and I’m the overall head of a lot of things but they do so much on their own. The kids are so so much more talented than I was when I was a little high schooler it’s so cool to see kids like Izi that are able to flourish and I mean, just as a freshman in high school as well.” 

Kalyoncuoglu has had many people supporting her through this journey including her friend of four years Grady Hicks. He had expected her to chase this opportunity and was extremely proud that she won first place.

 “Most of the time [Izi’s] very tired,” Hicks said “But like specific things she’s passionate about, she like goes all in on them.” 

 Kalyoncuoglu related to the movie Encanto personally in her family and she believed the song she sang had a deeper meaning to her than just being about butterflies. 

“So it’s a little bit sad, but it’s also really, welcoming in a way, and I just thought it was a beautiful song,” Kalyoncuoglu said “It was also pretty simple because I come from a Hispanic household where I’ve been spoken to in Spanish.”