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Blakely’s got talent

TV shows such as “America’s Got Talent”, “American Idol”, and “So You Think You Can Dance?” are all the rage across the nation as millions of people try to make their dreams become a reality.

But for one fifth grade teacher at Brantley School, his dreams are already beginning to unfold right before his very eyes.

Daryll Blakely, a third-year math and social studies teacher, recently won the “Wiregrass Got Talent” competition, and he couldn’t be happier.

“I’ve been singing in front of an audience since I was five years old,” Blakely said, smiling. “I really want to be a Gospel recording artist someday—I feel like God has something special planned for me, so I’m waiting to see where He leads me.”

At the competition at the Dothan Civic Center, Blakely sang “Never Would Have Made It” by Marvin Sapp as his introduction performance, and then he sang “I Need You, Lord Jesus” by The Brown Singers. Blakely won the contest, along with $500, over 14 other performers.

“My church, Zion Chapel Baptist Church, and my father persuaded me to enter the contest, so I did,” he explained.

Blakely’s father, Dennis, is the pastor of the church.

But the young teacher’s parents and church are not the only ones who saw talent in him.

Inez Pennington, the director and event organizer of “Wiregrass Got Talent”, saw the same thing in Blakely as his family and friends.

“When Daryll contacted me about being in the competition, he said he was going to bring it, and he brought it!” she said, laughing. “Everyone was really excited about him, and the fact that he is a school teacher and a great role model just makes his winning the competition even better.”

Pennington, who founded the Miss Bronze Pageant over 50 years ago, said the winning performance will be available for viewing on YouTube by Oct. 31. It can be viewed under “Wiregrass Got Talent”.

In fact, the entire program will also be available on DVD and will cost $10, with the proceeds going toward student scholarships.

As for Blakely’s local fans, colleague A.Z. Burnette couldn’t say enough good things about the Brantley teacher.

“We are so proud of him for winning this,” Burnette said, excitedly, “and we want everyone to know it. I think it’s just wonderful—he’s a real inspiration to others and a wonderful role model for our children.”

But if you think Blakely’s road to fame ends here, you’re wrong. He already has auditions lined up for January in Atlanta with Gospel recording artists Bebe Winans and Mary Mary.

“We’re really excited about his auditions in Atlanta,” mom Shirley Blakely said. “We’re going to be there to support him 100 percent.”

As for Blakely, an energetic and eager young man, his dreams are as big as his heart.

“Brantley School is so supportive and everyone is telling me that I’m going to make it, but I’m going to be happy and enjoy the journey and I’ll accept God’s perfect will for my future no matter what it is,” he said. “I truly believe that God is able to bring me through anything, including making my dreams come true, if I believe in Him.”