Athey Creek Middle School students set to compete in Athey Idol fundraiser in December

TIDINGS PHOTO: CLARA HOWELL  - Choir and drama teacher Allison Lee, left, helps seventh-grader Emerson Karl improve her performance. Seventh-grader Emerson Karl stood poised on stage and sang a rendition of "Hallelujah." When she finished, her peers clapped and Athey Creek Middle School choir and drama teacher Allison Lee sat her down to give her pointers for her upcoming performance.

Karl is one of 36 Athey Creek students who signed up to sing in the spotlight during Athey Idol — a spin-off of the hit television show "American Idol."

Students will brave the stage alone or with partners during the school's largest fundraiser for the drama and choir department.

Athey IdolLast year, Athey Idol raised more than $7,000 for technology upgrades, new uniforms and equipment including new pianos, curtains, computers and light and sound equipment.

"I am excited to give these kids the opportunity to feel like a star for a night. They may never have another experience like it and they are all such wonderful students," said Lee, who's been in the district for the last six years but is in her first year at Athey Creek. "I am excited to continue this school tradition that has been going on for the past 14 years."

Lee said rehearsals were going well — there are three Saturday rehearsals and two dress rehearsals before the December show.

"I am really trying to focus on the opportunity for the kids to have an amazing experience through growing in their performance abilities as well as making new friends," Lee said.

Seventh-grader Scout Snook, who will perform "Sick Boy" by the Chainsmokers, remembered performing in Athey Idol last year.

"By the time I got up on the stage I kind of forgot about everything, mostly because the spotlights blind you a lot," Snook said. "When it was over, a bunch of relief just came into me like something was lifted off my shoulders."

Snook is looking forward to watching his peers perform this year and raising money for the school.

"For peers, I think it's a good way to get them out of their shell and show their talent to their parents and everybody else," Snook said.

And that's exactly what Karl is looking forward to as well.

"I start shaking almost because I'm still really scared to put my voice out there but when I look at Ms. Lee, I know that it's fine because I know that she believes in me and I know that I have my friends Xander and Paxton here and when I look at them, I know I can do it," Karl said.

Three volunteer judges will decide upon three awards: Director's Choice — only for eighth-graders who've participated all three years — Judge's Choice and the Athey Idol award — where the audience members pay $1 per vote for their favorite act. The winners will receive a medal, a gift certificate, a trophy and their name on a plaque in the school.

West Linn High School's A Cappella Choir, Fresh Pitch, will open the performance Friday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. in the Athey Creek Commons. Tickets are available at or in the office at the school, and they can be purchased for $25 for premium seats; $15 for reserved seats and $7 for general admission.

"Everyone sings in the shower; everyone sings in their car or something; it's just something everyone does," Karl said. "But you don't really think of yourself as a good singer until people tell you that you're a good singer. ... It makes me feel like I was given a talent that I should use."

West Linn Tidings reporter Clara Howell can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 503-636-1281.

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