DESOTO - Someday their names may be up in lights. A group of local teenagers hopes to make it big in Hollywood and when they do, they can thank a small program in DeSoto for launching their big dreams.

The trio spends hours everyday after school dancing, perfecting their moves. When I hear the music, I actually make it up as I go along. Then when I teach it to them, then it gets stuck in my head, so then I'mactually choreographing myself, said 15-year-old Corley Lovett.

Lovett, along with brothers Donald and Jordan Thompkins, had never performed before attending the 'NIA Kids Center for the Performing Arts' in DeSoto this year. 'NIA' stands for nurture, inspire, affirm.

LaTara Thompkins founded the NIA Kids program several years ago to get older kids off the streets and into the arts. They come in here, they're timid. It's just amazing to see all the gifts they have. We've had to re-write productions that we've already written for the audtion, when the children come in with all these different talents. All they need is someone to nurture and develop it, she said.

This group of DeSoto High teens has grown tremendously in dance and school. The boys credit performing for a strong performance academically. Before this, my grades were low. Now they're high. I'm making As, I'm making Bs. Normally I wouldn't be doing that. I'd probably have Cs or something like that, said 16-year-old Donald Thompkins.

They' already received one 'A.' The recently won first place at DeSoto High's talent show.These young men will be performing in June at DeSoto's 'Creek Fest' and also in a local production company's tribute to Michael Jackson in July.


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