DeKalb West School sixth grader Tom Tippin performed late Monday in front of close to 7,000 of his peers and finished among the top eight in a talent competition at the Junior Beta Club State Convention in Nashville at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel.
Tippin, son of Aaron and Thea Tippin, sang Michael Jackson's "Black or White" and performed as Jackson, complete with the attire and dance moves of the late famous entertainer. "I danced as Michael Jackson," said Tom Tippin. " I did pretty good. I felt like I did better than I had practiced. A lot of preparation was done because I had to learn when to do the right moves and all the words. I've done a talent show at our school but this one was very big. I finished in the top eight," he said.
"He worked so hard and we were just so proud of him," said Thea Tippin. " He was not going to quit until he had it perfect. He put hours and hours into it so we were sure proud of him. He did the song "Black or White". He sang and also did the dance moves along with the song, like the moon walk and all that stuff that Michael Jackson did. It really turned out good," she said.
"We got there on Sunday night. They give you (contestants) a number and Tom was number 40 out of I think like 58 kids," said Thea Tippin. "So you just wait until its your turn and then you go up. There's a panel of judges. You go up and do your talent and they score you. The next morning you find out if you made it into the top eight. In the next round, you perform in the Delta Ballroom for about 7,000 people so its huge. Its pretty frightening but I was really proud of him. He was a nervous wreck before he went on. But once he got on stage, that adrenalin kicked in and he performed the best that I've ever seen him do and I've seen him do it a lot of times. Me, Aaron, and Ted were there cheering him on and our school, DeKalb Middle School, and the high school were all supportive of him. It was just wonderful. I want to tell everybody thanks because he had a great little cheering section from DeKalb County," she said..
"To be in Junior Beta and to be able to go to the actual convention you have to maintain a straight "A" average and you also have to do service work, which I think is wonderful," said Thea Tippin. "You have to do some kind of community service and each hour that you do is worth a point so you must have a certain amount of points of service projects to even get to go. Tom went to Lighthouse Christian Camp and worked there at the widow's home. He cleaned up around the bushes. He also did some cleaning around the school and a lot of things like that to help people out. It was a good thing," she said.
(Photo above: Tom Tippin: Photo by Hedgespeth Photography)