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Peanut kid tap dances her way to win Kiwanis contest

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013 11:52 a.m. CDT
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(Photo provided)
Olivia Verduzco, 8, was announced the winner of the Kiwanis Club's annual Peanut Day Contest and rode in the Houby Day Parade.

BERWYN – If Olivia Verduzco can tap dance to “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” the Kiwanis Peanut Kid can surely tip toe through the houbys.

The 8-year-old, St. Leonard’s School student made a special appearance during the Berwyn/Cicero Houby Parade on Oct. 6, just one of her duties during her one-year reign as spokesperson for the Kiwanis Club’s annual Peanut Day fundraiser Sept. 27.

The Peanut Day Contest was held Aug. 15 at the Proksa Park Activity Center, under the direction of Peggy Rose Kwiatek of the Peggy Rose Academy of Dance and Acrobatics in Berwyn. Contestants were ages 6 to 8 and were judged on poise, personality, a question-and-answer session and talent. They also worked the runway by modeling party dresses.

Contestants Gianina Montoro and Savannah Lambert both performed in ballet. Karina Robledo did a jazz dance routine.

Verduzco chose a tap dance number to bedazzle Kiwanis Club judges Mary Ann Mobley, Jennifer Mitchell and Tammy Clausen.

“The thing I like about tap are the songs that Miss Peggy plays for tap dancing,” she said. Verduzco also sings in her church choir and plays piano and violin.

“When I get older, I feel like I’ll get better and get to play other instruments,” she said.

Being in the parade was an experience she won’t soon forget.

“First, when I got in the car I was a little scared. Then we went down the street and I got excited,” she said.

Some day she hopes to be Houby Queen herself.

Her mother, Olga, said her daughter has been musical for as long as she can remember.

“She does pretty good with both instruments,” Olga Verduzco said. “I’m hoping that she does something with music, whatever she’s interested in. I think she’s a very well-rounded person. She likes to do things for others. Shes likes looking to help the younger kids.”

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