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GCTV Student Finalist For MSG Varsity V-Award

Junior Francesca Sharper could win a $5,000 grant for the school’s TV studio

In her first year taking Glen Cove High School’s TV studio course, junior Francesca Sharper has proven to have a natural talent in front of the camera. This month, Sharper was nominated as a tri-state finalist for Cablevision’s MSG Varsity V-Award, making her eligible for a $5,000 grant for the school if she is chosen.

Sharper is one of five finalists in the On-Air Talent, Non-Sports category for her work on GCTV Friday Morning News.

Before signing up for the TV studio class, Sharper says she had never considered media arts as a career. In fact, she says she only signed up for it because she heard the class was fun, anticipated that it would be an easy, non-academic course, and wanted to have a class with one of her best friends.

“I really thought I would follow my mother’s footsteps and become a nurse or something in the medical field,” she says. However, her time spent on projects, combined with the accolades she has received for her talent, has made her change her mind.

Students in the course get to explore all aspects of television production, from being behind the camera, setting the lighting, editing, writing and doing on-camera interviews and segments.

Sharper says she particularly likes the interviewing aspect.

The video she is up for the award for is for her segment on the school’s student-run Internet radio station. Classmate Omar Sousa answers her questions about his radio show, and TV studio teacher Chris Barry explains certain aspects of the station.

“I didn’t really think it was going to win because it’s up against so many different people, but for me to make it this far is really exciting.”

On May 30, Sharper will get to host MSG Varsity’s Student News show.

“That’s going to be a brand new experience for me, I’m really excited for that and happy that they chose me to do so,” she says. “I thought that to do big things like this you’d have to be in college; for this to happen so quick is very cool.”

When asked why she thinks she was chosen she says, “I guess they see something in me; I’ve been told that I’m relatable and comfortable in front of the camera, which is a shocker for me. I’m not exactly camera shy but I usually get nervous when the spotlight’s on me.”

Aside from spending one period in the TV studio class every day, Sharper says she spends the majority of the day in the TV studio, logging hours after school to work on her projects. The most recent project she worked on was about the school budget, where she interviewed the superintendent, administrators and a school board member about the budget, the tax cap law and the potential impact on schools in the district if the budget had not passed. The video was displayed on the district’s site until the vote, and can still be viewed on MSG Varsity’s website.

Barry says, “I love when a kid comes out of nowhere. She came up here, we put a microphone on her, turned it on, and she was a natural. I appreciate the credit she gives me as a teacher, but there’s something inside of her that comes right out that I didn’t teach her, she just has it.”

This is the third year MSG Varsity and the New York Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NY NATAS) have awarded students in the tri-state area for producing exceptional television content. This year, MSG Varsity received more than 2,100 entries from high schools across Long Island/New York City, New Jersey and Westchester/Hudson Valley/Connecticut and selected regional finalists in 10 categories representing various aspects of media production and narrowed them down to the top qualifiers in 10 categories.

The winner in each of the 10 categories will be awarded a $5,000 grant for the school, and each honorable mention will receive a $1,000 school grant. The entries are judged by a panel of television production and broadcasting industry professionals from MSG Varsity and NY NATAS.

The 10 winners will be announced on MSG Varsity’s V-Awards special airing on May 31 at noon and 7:30 p.m. on MSG Varsity, Cablevision’s Optimum TV channel 14.