A ninth-grader at Laurel Springs School in Ojai has been selected as one of two finalists in the ballet category of a regional performing arts contest.
Jennifer Whalen, 14, of Ventura will have her final competition next Monday at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in downtown Los Angeles as part of the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County's Spotlight Awards program.
"I was so happy and felt so honored and fortunate to be selected," Jennifer said. "The competition was so hectic but so exciting. The excitement builds and builds. I felt like I didn't want it to be over but, at the same time, I wanted to see the results."
Jennifer will compete against Jamie Brianne Dee, 17, a 12th-grader from Orange.
Eight ballet dancers were among the 67 semifinalists in six performance categories. The categories are ballet, jazz/modern dance, classical voice, nonclassical voice, classical instrumental music and jazz instrumental music.
Founded in 1988, the Spotlight Awards program is a mentoring and scholarship competition for teens gifted in the performing arts. More than 800 aspiring performers from Southern California entered this year's competition, according to a spokeswoman.
Winners in each category will receive $5,000; runners-up will receive $2,500.