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Boston Public Schools Announces Winner of ‘BPS Got Talent’ Digital Student Talent Show

F.I.R.E. String Quartet

F.I.R.E. String Quartet From the Josiah Quincy Elementary School Is Winning Entry

BOSTON — Friday, June 15, 2018 — The Boston Public Schools (BPS) is pleased to announce the winner of the district’s first-ever digital talent show, “BPS Got Talent.” The winning submission is a performance by the F.I.R.E. String Quartet from the Josiah Quincy Elementary School.

“Congratulations to the members of the F.I.R.E. String Quartet for being selected as the winners of the district’s first-ever digital talent show,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “This effort is a great way to showcase the unique and creative talents of our students, and offers them a platform to share their talent with our community, which was very engaged throughout the process. I thank all the students for their participation and for making this contest a great success.”

The members of the F.I.R.E. String Quartet are third-graders Gisele Francisco and Bonnie Mai, both 9, first-grader Mika Liu, 7, and her brother, fourth-grader Noah Liu, 10.

“I like playing music for my friends and family, it’s fun and they get to vote for us. I love it,” said quartet member Mika Liu. The four students are also members of the Boston String Academy, a nonprofit organization that promotes engagement in music making by providing string instrument instruction to city youth.

The quartet’s winning performance is a rendition of the Chinese song “Ba luo bo,” meaning “pulling of the radish (or turnip).” The acronym in the group’s name represents the Josiah Quincy School’s values: “Focus. Integrity. Respect. Empathy.”

“The students in this winning quartet should be celebrated not just for their wonderful music and vibrant spirit but also because they are great representatives of our community,” said Boston School Committee Chairperson Michael Loconto. “They uphold the principles valued both by their school and the district as a whole.”

“We always encourage our students to shine as bright as can be,” added BPS Superintendent Tommy Chang. “Contests like BPS Got Talent give our young people the opportunity to showcase and build confidence in themselves and their abilities. Congratulations to the F.I.R.E. String Quartet for winning with such a wonderful performance.”

The BPS Office of External Affairs launched BPS Got Talent after gaining inspiration from the many school talent shows in the district. Students were encouraged to submit entries via social media, using the hashtag #BPSGotTalent. The contest ran from April 23 through June 9, with voting ending on June 12. There were 76 contest entries, with over 15,300 total votes cast.

"We started this contest as a way for students to showcase their talents on a district-wide level. As educators work to implement the ‘A’ in STEAM learning, it’s important to encourage students’ confidence in their artistic abilities,” said Makeeba McCreary, managing director and senior advisor of the BPS Office of External Affairs. “The entries went above and beyond what we expected, proving that our students are certainly not lacking in talent. And with over 15,000 total votes, it's safe to say the community agrees.”

STEAM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math, and emphasizes using a student’s creative process to increase engagement in multiple school subjects. The submissions displayed a variety of students’ artistic talents, including drawing, painting, photography, singing, dancing, spoken word poetry, ice skating, gymnastics, musical instrumentation, karate, rapping, magic and more.

The Office of External Affairs is looking forward to launching a second round of the competition soon, perhaps as early as this fall. In the meantime, the F.I.R.E. String Quartet will be featured in the July issue of the BPS Engage newsletter. To watch the winning performance and find out more about the quartet, please visit the Office of External Affairs blog.