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Defy Gravity with Take Stock in Children

25 Oct 2018 10:36 AM | Dan Sidler (Administrator)

(Bradenton, FL) – The Force, an eight-student band spanning grades 8-12, created to tell the story about Take Stock in Children through music, will give their first performance at Defying Gravity, a special event benefitting the organization on November 16 at the Manatee Performing Arts Center.

“The Force is a great group formed by our Take Stock scholars – talented, academically outstanding and eager to be engaged in our community and give back,” said Jamie Serino, the executive director of Take Stock.

The Force has been working on lyrics, song arrangements and vocals with professional musician and winner of the Naumburg Award, Chris Trakas, a metropolitan opera principal artist.  The Force will be supported musically by the professional jazz orchestra, the Tom Kats Express.  Stacie Cratty, dance teacher at Haile Middle School, is collaborating with the students on choreography.

“Defying Gravity is about our scholars rising high and defying the barriers that they face to obtain a post-secondary education. The program works: Our Take Stock scholars out compete all Florida students in high school and college graduation rates. Now that is Defying Gravity.”

“This event is also a platform for Take Stock in Children to punctuate our desire to engage and develop deep partnerships with the Manatee Community through our new Workforce Initiative; with 185 graduates and another 100 Take Stock scholars on track to graduate in the next two to three years, we have a vision of how we can give back, be a force for good and help fill the workforce needs right in our own backyard.”

According to Serino, when a student is first accepted into the program, Take Stock provides a mentor and college scholarship. Take Stock scholars in turn commit to maintaining academic and behavior standards.

“Since its inception, our success model has always been providing a mentor and scholarship together. As mentors, we ask ourselves what else we can do to prepare them for the future,” said Serino. “Strengthening the ties with our business community will help our scholars learn transferable soft skills like teambuilding, problem solving, and compromise.” 

Features of Defying Gravity include an hors d’oeuvres reception within the Kiwanis Hall,  presentation and program in the MPAC auditorium, and dessert and dancing in the lobby. Music mentor Chris Trakas and Nashville recording artist Dylan Taylor will also give live performances. 

Take Stock in Children of Manatee County, Inc. is a 501(c)3 organization with a mission to provide an opportunity for a post-secondary education for academically and financially qualified students.  All scholarship dollars stay local and are matched dollar-for-dollar by the Florida Prepaid Foundation.
“Defying Gravity” will take place on Friday evening, November 16, at the Manatee Performing Arts Center in Bradenton starting at 6:30 pm. Table sponsorships are available; businesses that sponsor a table will be awarded the benefits of membership in the Corporate Partnership program. For more information, contact Jamie Serino at (941) 751-6550 x 2120. To attend Defying Gravity, RSVP on line for tickets at

8430 Enterprise Circle, STE 140
Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202

941-757-1664 |

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