Helena teens get their "Night to Shine"

Posted at 1:12 AM, Feb 21, 2024

HELENA — From contemporary dancers to Kermit the Frog impersonations, Helena teens had their night to shine on Tuesday.

“We didn’t really have an opportunity to dance just us two together before this,” said Ellie Mercer, a senior at Capital High School.

She danced a duet with Helena High School senior Eliana Lundstrom. Night to Shine was the first time the two girls could dance together at a school event.

They are one of 21 acts performing at night to shine. Others include musical performances, dog tricks, and bike stunts.

“It really is a great variety and showcases truly the talent we have here in Helena,” said Capital High School Distributive Education Clubs of America, or DECA, adviser Jessica Freeman.

Night to Shine sign

Students must first audition before being put into the show. This year, seven or eight acts were cut.

Performers are not only from Capital and Helena High Schools; Night to Shine also includes performers from St. Andrew’s Catholic School and East Helena High School.

Freeman said, “When we say cross-town collaboration, it truly is a collaboration of not only the DECA programs but collaboration in the community.”

The Helena and Capital High Schools DECA programs host the teen talent show.

Microphones on Civic Center Stage

Roughly 20 DECA students have their hands on each part of Night to Shine, from finding sponsors and marketing to auditioning and emceeing the show. They have been planning the event since September.

“They learn everything from finance to marketing to accounting practices, so they’re really getting hands-on experience in business practices,” said Freeman.

All of the proceeds stay within the Helena DECA programs, and depending on ticket sales and sponsors, it typically raises anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000.

Over 20 students from Helena and Capital High Schools will attend the DECA nationals in Anaheim, CA, at the end of April, and the money raised during Night to Shine will go towards paying for the trip.

Night to Shine trophies

The judges panel, made up of DECA advisors and students, and community members, voted for first, second and third place.

Lily Pierson won first place for a singing solo, second place was won by Tiernan Irish Dancers, and Katie Flowers and Avery Sanders won third place for a singing solo accompanied by piano.

Night to Shine winners

If you want to learn more about DECA, visit