Local 8-year-old wins trip for whole family

| 15 Feb 2012 | 10:32

Third grader’s tenacious contest entries pays off SPARTA — Jonathan Poret, a third grader at the Alpine School in Sparta, has been an avid listener of Radio Disney since he was a toddler. His dedication finally paid off when he recently became the winner of the 2011 American Music Awards Sweepstakes. By listening to the radio for the code word of the day and entering it on the Radio Disney Web site, participants get one entry per day, and a contest runs for two weeks. Recently, the grand prize was a trip for four including airline, hotel and transportation to Los Angeles to attend the American Music Awards on Nov. 20. “On Veterans Day, we got a phone call from California; a D.J. left a message that he wanted to talk to Jonathan,” said Nete Poret, Jonathan’s mother. “We had a week to prepare and fly out.” Although Jonathan is strategic and tenacious when calling in and entering codes on the computer, he was shocked to win the grand prize: “All week I kept saying to my mom could you believe it I won? And she would say no!” The family of four had never been to Los Angeles. They left on Saturday morning and returned on Monday. Adjusting well to the time change and with a small window of opportunity to be tourists, the Porets did some sightseeing — touring the Chinese Theatre and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. “It was amazing. I loved the footprints and handprints of the stars,” Jonathan said. On Saturday evening, they attended a Red Cross sponsored pre-party where they had some celebrity sightings including Lance Bass and Josh Sussman. On Sunday evening for the culmination of the trip, the Porets were taken to the Nokia Theater for the awards show in a stretch limousine. With a Disney representative by their side, they had orchestra seats, but were not visible on television. A lot of the artists that are heard on Radio Disney attended the show including Taylor Swift, who won three awards. “The last act was amazing with LMFAO performing,” said Jonathan. “Yes, they brought the house down,” chimes in his mother. “It’s amazing watching it in the theatre — it is so different. You see more choreography and special effects.” Jonathan returned on Monday to his normal 8-year old life attending school and violin lessons. Presently, he is ineligible for six months to participate in any of Radio Disney contests. “I love music so I can still listen to it, and by my Mom’s calculations, I should be able to get back on around my sister’s birthday in May.”