There was plenty of talent to go around at the Historic Iao Theater on the evening of Saturday, Feb. 8. That’s when 10 contestants took the stage to sing, dance, act and joke their way into the winner’s circle during the seventh RAM’s Got Talent competition.

The fundraising event was conceived eight years ago during the Hawaii Association of Realtors Leadership Academy by four of its attendees: Marion Haller and Lisa Teichner of Keller Williams Realty Maui, Dave Futch of Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers and Tara Garcia of Maui Showcase Properties. Since then, RAM’s Got Talent has drawn a pool of contenders—including musicians, singers, dancers, actors, magicians, and comics—who put their talents on display for a good cause.

This year’s event was no exception.

The top prize of the night went to Genesis Buduan of Coldwell Banker Island Properties, who impressed the judges and audience members with his breakdancing moves. Jonathan Yudis of Keller Williams Realty Maui took home the second place trophy for his two monologues: Paramahansa Yogananda’s “One Life Versus Reincarnation” and a spoken-word poem from Ian Muir Winn’s book, “Techno Pagan Octopus Messiah.” The third place winner was Brendan O’Colmain of State Farm Insurance, who got everyone into the groove with his performance of “Disco Inferno.” And this year’s “Audience Favorite” award was given to Chris Bakeman of Fine Island Properties for her side-splitting stand-up comedy act.

But the real winners of RAM’s Got Talent are its beneficiaries: Maui OnStage at the Historic Iao Theater and the Realtors Association of Maui Community Foundation (RAMCF) Presidential Scholarship Fund. Since its inception in 1989, the RAMCF Presidential Scholarship Fund has awarded more than $750,000 in academic scholarships to college-bound high school seniors throughout Maui County, as well as past scholarship recipients. Funds for the scholarships are raised through events like RAM’s Got Talent, the Maui Visitor Industry Charity Walk, RAMCF Presidential Scholarship Golf Event, RAM’s annual installation and membership gala, as well Mea Kako‘o, a group of sponsors who collectively donate money to the scholarship program.

The second beneficiary, Maui OnStage, is a community-based theatrical organization that has occupied the Historic Iao Theater since 1984. The nonprofit has played a pivotal role in keeping the theater thriving over the years and has been recognized as one of the longest-running theater companies in the United States.

The 2020 “RAM’s Got Talent” event would not have been possible without the generous support of its sponsors: Bank of Hawaii, Castle & Cooke Mortgage, Elite Lending, Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers, Loan Depot, Movement Mortgage, and Old Republic Title.

It’s not too early to start planning (and practicing) for the next event. The RAM’s Got Talent committee is always looking for talented individuals who would like to be involved; all RAM members and affiliates are eligible to perform. To learn more, visit www.ramsgottalent.com or email ramsgottalent@gmail.com.

Do you know a college-bound student who may be interested in the RAMCF Presidential Scholarship Fund? To be eligible for the scholarship award, students must be a high school senior or a former recipient of the scholarship (from the previous three years) and must be in the process of applying or reapplying to an accredited college or university or trade school. Applicants must also be full-time Maui County residents who are currently attending—or have previously attended—a public or private high school in Maui County; however, students attending private high schools off island will be considered residents of Maui County if they are living off island for the specific purpose of attending that private high school. Current GED participants are also encouraged to apply.

The deadline to apply for the 2020 scholarship is 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31. To apply, visit www.ScholarsApp.com, create a free account, and search for “Realtors Association of Maui Presidential Scholarship.” Students must complete the application and submit all accompanying documents no later than 5 p.m. on March 31. Paper applications are also available for those without internet access. To obtain a paper application, students can contact their respective school guidance counselor; homeschooled students can contact RAM directly. Paper applications can be mailed to RAM at 441 Ala Makani St., Kahului, HI 96732 and must be postmarked by Friday, March 27.

To learn more about the RAMCF Presidential Scholarship Fund, visit www.ramaui.com/scholarship or contact RAM Education Manager Leeann Poaipuni at leeann@ramaui.com or 270-4628.

The Maui News – February 24, 2020

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