DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Confidence, poise and a firm handshake.

They’re just some of the skills that local students are perfecting in what is now a nationwide effort called, ‘Amazing Shake.’ The best in DISD’s inaugural competition squared off Thursday.

“I’m feeling nervous, anxious– but, with a rush of bubbly, soda-y excitement,” exclaimed Detory Colbert, Jr.

In a room filled with tomorrow’s movers and shakers, it’s no surprise that these top DISD students have mastered an ‘amazing shake’ and are now moving on to polishing those communication skills.

“These kids are learning real world, life skills– how to engage in conversation, ask questions, make connections and really help others see the light that’s inside of them,” says Ashley Lozano, DISD’s Choice Schools Director of Operations. “It’s really going to set them apart from their peers, and we want our Dallas students to shine the brightest.”

We first met Detory and classmate Rhyanna Burks in November as DISD introduced the program. They were ‘Amazing Shake’ stars at McNair Elementary School and were quick to show off what they’d learned under teacher Marissa Fossile’s careful coaching.

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McNair Elementary handshakes (CBS11)

“Well, my mom, as soon as I got home, I got the biggest hug ever, she was like ‘that’s my baby!!!’ recalled Rhyanna. Now, both have made it to DISD’s ‘Amazing Shake’ final round.

“I was nervous on the way here; but, now, after I’ve had my first round, I feel so much better,” says Rhyanna.

As public schools manage constant pressure to perform academically, even parents acknowledge that so called ‘soft skills’ like these are also essential to success.”

“Whether or not they can solve a quadratic equation, that’ll be important for some of them,” says parent Barry Jacobs. “But, for the vast majority of them, being able to relate confidently and with poise with other people, with strangers, is going to be a much, much more important skill.”

Jacobs’ second grade daughter is also competing. He says they were concerned earlier in the year that the SOLAR Prep student was “too shy.” Of course, that was before ‘Amazing Shake.’

“Through this program I’ve watched her poise and confidence just blossom,” says Jacobs, “it’s really been amazing.”

DISD winners in elementary, middle and high school divisions will be announced next week.

It will be kids like these who will ‘shake’ up our world… regardless of who wins.

“They’re more than champions in my book,” says Detory.