A star is born…JORDAN JONES is set to make his final bow this weekend on the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis stage as this season’s ground-breaking opera, Champion, comes to a close. Jordan, a 10-year-old artist from University City, plays Little Emile in his debut role with the company. He tells LN how he found out about getting the role. “It was the day after the second audition, and my mom woke me up from a nap. You got the part! she yelled.” Jordan, who has previously performed at Powell Hall with The St. Louis Children’s Choirs, says his Opera Theatre debut was both “exciting and scary,” and opening night was very memorable. “When I walked into my dressing room before the performance, I saw a whole table there, and it had a trophy and cards and chocolates—it was really nice.” As for working side-by-side opera’s biggest stars, including famed mezzo-soprano DENYCE GRAVES, Jordan says, “(Denyce) treats me like she’s my mom. It’s kinda fun, but it’s also like Wow! All these great performers—they’re all very nice and down-to-earth.” Bravo, Jordan!

A soon-to-be MICDS junior is the new Miss Missouri Outstanding Teen 2013. Fifteen-year-old TESS MANDOLI of Creve Coeur is a volunteer for a number of local organizations, including the International Institute of St. Louis, National Charity League and Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri. Tess also was named the competition’s 2013 Miracle Maker, personally raising $2,500 for Children’s Miracle Network Hospital, the most of any contestant this year. She’ll represent Missouri in August at the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Pageant, which promotes scholastic achievement, creative accomplishment, healthy living and community involvement for American teens.

Last week, SHAW PARK AQUATIC CENTER in Clayton served as an official host to the ‘World’s Largest Swim Lesson’ in an attempt to set a new GUINNESS WORLD RECORD. Sixty children locally joined tens of thousands of others in aquatic facilities around the world to break the previous record, which stood at 24,873. Guinness has yet to make a ruling on the attempt.

PAT SIMONS, the founder of St. Louis-based Ready Readers, is the author of a new book. Brothers on the Run: Fleeing Hitler, Fighting Franco is an historical novel based on the true story of Simons’ father and uncle, who escaped from Nazi Germany and survived 1930s Europe and the Spanish Civil War. In the late 1990s, Simons and others organized to form Ready Readers, designed to help prevent reading problems among preschool-aged children living in poverty.

Also out is the first book in a series of recipe-adventure stories created to teach and entertain young children. Local authors ELUKA MOORE, LARRY PUZNIAK and MARIANNE WELSH, along with illustrator KRISTEN GAU, have released End of the Rainbow Fruit Salad, which uses counting and colors, food exploration and fun problem-solving to help families establish healthy eating habits.

THE WOMAN’S EXCHANGE is now open for business at its new Colonial Marketplace location at Ladue Road and 170. The new store, located next to Ladue News, features approximately 50 percent more space than the previous location at Clay Price Center.