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Murrysville

Franklin Regional broadcasting students prepare for annual charity telethon

Patrick Varine
| Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017, 1:54 p.m.
From the left, Natalie Wright, 16, Allison Sopko, 15, Ryan Lucht, 16, and Mali Mastandrea, 17, are part of the Franklin Regional student group that will produce and air the annual 'Hope for the Holidays' telethon on Friday, Dec. 22, 2017.
Patrick Varine | Tribune-Review
From the left, Natalie Wright, 16, Allison Sopko, 15, Ryan Lucht, 16, and Mali Mastandrea, 17, are part of the Franklin Regional student group that will produce and air the annual 'Hope for the Holidays' telethon on Friday, Dec. 22, 2017.

While broadcasting and video production students at Franklin Regional High School have plenty of experience under their belts, organizing and airing the school's 14th annual "Hope for the Holidays" telethon is still a daunting task.

"You have to make sure everything's correct, because if there's one mistake, it's just going to lead into other mistakes," said sophomore Ryan Lucht, 16.

This year's telethon will be Dec. 22 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., broadcast live on local access Channel 19 and on the high school's website. It will raise money for the UPMC Children's Hospital Free Care Fund.

"I love helping people," said broadcasting and video production teacher Becky Magness. "I enjoy seeing how the kids can help and also learn in the process."

While her students shoot and edit daily student news programs, the telethon is quite a different beast: six hours of live television, warts and all.

"It always seems like we set it up the day before and everything's working," Magness said. "Then we get there the next day and something isn't working right up until minutes before the show."

Junior Colten Oakes, 16, said it's a challenge, but one he's always up for.

"We're probably one of the most advanced student television groups in the area, and it's great to be able to show off what we can do," Oakes said.

Each of Magness' classes has a different video they will shoot and edit for the broadcast, and her advanced class is working on three separate videos, all with a different holiday theme.

The live broadcast will also feature student performers.

"The biggest challenge once we have all that stuff is organizing it for the live production," Magness said.

Senior Mali Mastandrea, 17, said she enjoys knowing the work she puts in is for a good cause.

"I love being able to help out other people and overall it's just a really great experience," Mastandrea said.

Oakes agreed.

"It's a great experience, and it adds to everyone's resumé," he said.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2862, pvarine@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.

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