June 08, 2012
For one youngster it was an experience of a lifetime and in return, she witnessed firsthand, the true generosity of Eskasoni when they support a worthy cause.
It is a given, 11 year old Maryanne Junta of Eskasoni, loves to sing. As long as Maryanne could remember she’s been singing since she was a baby. At the ripe old age of 11, Maryanne has grown in confidence and has showcased her singing talent at many community events in Eskasoni.
When Maryanne wanted to audition in Halifax for the Next Star, which is a Canadian talent search show on YTV, the parents were reluctant because they thought she was still too young to try out. But for Maryanne to actually decide that she wanted to do this on her own, parents, Jeff and Glenda decide then and there that they will not stand in the way of their daughter’s dream. “Singing is her passion. It's all she does, it's what she loves,” said Mom.
But for Jeff and Glenda, reality hit quickly, after realizing how they can afford this trip just after Easter Bunny, bills and a few unforeseen expenses. That problem was solved quickly. “Fundraise!,” said Glenda, “I know many people love our subs and are also generous and supportive for positive causes.”
So with the magic of facebook, for two weekends the Junta family sold their popular steak subs and a day of fundraising dinners, the results where overwhelming, “Our Eskasoni was so generous with our cause and we were overwhelmed on how much encouragement and support we receive from our community,” said Glenda.
The Allison Bernard Memorial High School even held a penny drive for Maryanne and raised over 250 dollars for her trip.
After the great success of the fundraising drive, the Junta family headed to Halifax on April 27 on what they called a journey of lifetime. Next morning Maryanne and her parents stood in line in the freezing cold with the other 2000 plus contestants at the World Trade and Convention Center (WTCC).
At 6am in the cold April morning Maryanne, Mom and Dad quickly became popular and made lots of friends because they had a blanket. The 2000 plus contestant entered the WTCC at 9am where Maryanne had to wait another 10 hours until her audition around 7pm.
During their wait, Maryanne had a special fan show up to support and give her words of encouragement. That special fan was Chief Leroy Denny of Eskasoni. Chief Denny told Maryanne that he believed in her and gave her a small picture with the words "DREAM BIG" written on them along with a beautiful card signed From Chief Leroy and the community of Eskasoni.
The entire day was exhausting for Maryanne, Mom and Dad but the experience was something they will cherish forever. It was a little intimidating for Maryanne during the audition and she didn’t make the cut. They were all a bit sad but got over it and there’s always the next time.
Mom said, “We loved the experience, we loved the much needed mother/father and daughter time we shared. And it without the support we received then none of this could have happened for her and for us.”
After the Next Star experience the family returned home and still had money left over from the fundraiser. Mom and Dad felt that they had to do something in return for the community’s tremendous support. So Maryanne, Mom and Dad decided to us the money they had left from their trip and re-invest to sell more steak subs. In those two evening sales, they raised 420 dollars with another 100 dollars donated.
As a thank you, Maryanne, Mom and Dad donated the money to the high school breakfast program. “This is our way of saying Thank you to Our Eskasoni for being the best,” said Mom. She add, “Since I was inspired to give back to our community, I am in hopes that our community will also be inspired to give back and cause a chain reaction, help out no matter what and how. Let's make good deeds contagious...On behalf of Maryanne Junta Thank you for the grand adventure.”