Friday April 12, 2024 9:39 PM



Date: April 12, 2024 – For Immediate Release




Dugan’s Got Talent sponsored by Independence Bank and hosted by the City of Owensboro’s Parks and Recreation Department awarded $6,000 in college scholarships to four local high school students this evening at Dugan Best Recreation Center.


Eleven contestants performed in front of an ecstatic crowd.  Jakovie Curry (Junior at Owensboro High school) won 1st place and took home a $5,000 scholarship; 2nd place was awarded to Helena Klein (Junior at Daviess County High School) receiving a $500 Scholarship; 3rd place was awarded to Lily Berry (Senior at Apollo High School) winning a $250 scholarship; and 4th place was awarded to Spencer Combs (Senior, Owensboro High School) and Dylan McCollam (Junior, Owensboro High School) winning at $250 scholarship. The other contestants consisted of Abigail Oakes, vocalist;  Matthew Boarman, electric guitar; Nate Wilson, Color Guard; Clayton Manire, clogging; Diba Karimi, artist; Elizabeth Burgan, Russian vocalist; and MiChya Durr-Dulin, dancer. Event sponsor, Independence Bank, donated $5,000 for the scholarship prizes. At the event, Mayor Tom Watson, on behalf of the City, announced an extra $1,000 to the first place winner’s scholarship.


Mike Gray, Dugan Best Recreation Center Director commented, “Dugan’s Got Talent was fantastic! To see our young people display their talent to our community at Dugan Best Recreation Center brought a refreshing atmosphere to all the families and participants in this area. Plus, being able to provide a scholarship to the top contestants to further their education and help them pursue their dreams is what the Center is all about!”  He hopes the event will put a good word out about Dugan Best Recreation Center and bring new faces to see what else Dugan Best Recreation Center has to offer.


We sincerely appreciate the partnership and sponsor of Dugan’s Got Talent, Independence Bank with a special thanks going out to Community Enrichment Officer Susanne Story and Daviess County President, Nick Oller for their work to make the event a success. The emcee for the evening was Chad Benefield from your Country Station 92.5 WBKR who ensured the event went smoothly!


Daviess County Market President, Nick Oller was a judge for this event.  Mr. Oller shared, “Supporting area students has always been important to Independence Bank. We want to see them succeed in whichever path they choose for their future careers. We are so proud to continue this commitment by awarding $5,000 in scholarships divided between the top 4 finalists. The Dugan Best Park facility was filled with excellent energy and entertainment while providing an enjoyable evening.”


Each contestant received a score from each of our six judges. The Judges then deliberated after all had performed and added up each contestant’s totals. The talent was high and scores were very close. Judges consisted of Mayor Thomas Watson; Dugan Best Neighborhood Alliance Chairperson, Bobby McCormick; Independence Bank, Daviess County President, Nick Oller; Independence Bank, Community Enrichment Officer, Susanne Story; former Northwest Neighborhood Alliance Chairperson Rafe Buckner, and Ron Rhodes, Chief Meteorologist for Eyewitness News (WEHT/WTVW).


The contestants submitted their audition videos for consideration in January. The contestants represent Owensboro High School, Daviess County High School, Apollo High School, Owensboro Catholic High School, and Glory and Grace Academy online school. Acts ranged from singing, dancing, playing the guitar, color guarding, clogging, and even singing in Russian. 


“It takes bravery for these students to get up on the stage and share their talents,” Susanne Story, Independence Bank Community Enrichment Officer shared. “We watched a variety of gifts.  Congratulations to everyone who had the courage to enter this contest while supporting Owensboro Parks and Recreation.”


Owensboro Parks and Recreation wanted to bring people to Dugan Best Recreation Center and provide an event to teens that could benefit their future and give them a chance to display their talents to the City. Dugan Best Recreation Center is open Monday through Friday during the school year from 2:30- 7:00 p.m. and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.  When school is not in session, the center operates Monday through Saturday 11:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. The center and its staff provide a safe and fun environment for the community.  The activities planned by staff are meant to enhance the future goals of our youth.  The center features a game room, kitchen, teen room, weight and fitness room, computer stations, and gym for public use. 


For questions about Dugan Best Recreation Center, contact Director Mike Gray at 270-687-8714.