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Teens answer casting call for reality show on MTV

About 40 Lakewood High students turn out for a chance at personal transformation on next season's Made.

Published September 4, 2005

What would you change about yourself, if offered the chance?

Would you take up a new sport? Work on your self-confidence? Learn courting skills?

About 40 students turned out Thursday for interviews with MTV representatives for a chance to realize personal aspirations while possibly becoming "reality TV" stars.

Lakewood High School students lined up for a casting call for next season's reality show Made on MTV.

Kelsi Facsina, 17, of St. Petersburg, who has been figure skating for 12 years, said she hoped to become a hockey player. Facsina, a senior, said that she liked the idea of playing a team sport and she might have a shot at getting "made" because she is already a proficient skater. But she realizes that a lot of work would need to be done to get her ready for hockey.

"My goal is more attainable, but it's also really hard to go from one to the other," she said.

John Brooks, 17, wants to be a more confident stage performer.

"I'm a dancer and I danced in front of the school last year and I didn't do so well because I got nervous. I repeated some of the steps," Brooks said. "I think they can help me with being shy, coming out of my shell and opening up more."

Each program features a teenager who has a desire of a personal transformation. Previous episodes have included a bookworm who was trained to play football, a hard-core punk rock fan who became prom queen and an overachiever who learns how to dance and makes her school's hip-hop step team. Several episodes have dealt with teens who are looking for relationship help, whether to gain the courage to ask out a special someone or to find a date to a school dance.

Liam Ryan, 17, falls into that latter category. Though he had other ideas in mind, Ryan applied to Made to see if they could give him some assistance finding a date for the school's homecoming dance on Oct. 22.

"I said prom at first, but they wanted to be finished in a month or two. Out of the things I wanted, it seemed to be the most appropriate for the show," Ryan said, adding that he didn't have a specific date in mind.

Senior Bari Becker, student government historian, helped organize the interview session after principal Dennis Duda told her MTV had sent a letter of interest.

"He's so cool about this stuff. When he saw it was MTV, he said "I knew you'd be interested.' He's so involved," Becker said.

Becker called the show's headquarters in New York to arrange a date and time for interviews. Segments about the casting call were broadcast on the school's closed-circuit television daily morning program, Fast Forward. A signup sheet was posted in Student Government Association adviser Jeff Schellhause's classroom. Becker said that about 30 people signed up, though more appeared on interview day.

"A lot of people showed interest. The whole school is talking about this because it's MTV," Becker said. "Everybody is getting excited about this because hopefully someone from our school will get it."

Becker said Made representatives told her that if they chose a Lakewood student, that person would be notified after Labor Day. She was also told that goals should have a school or community focus and that show producers were not looking for students who were simply seeking exposure or fame.

Each episode of the show focuses on one teen who is led through a month or so of rigorous instruction designed to help them reach a goal. Not all succeed in reaching their goals, but some students think the excitement is in journey. Facsina, the figure skater, said the possibilities were endless for students looking to be "made."

"This is very exciting. I think it's a good opportunity for people who don't have the means to do it themselves. Since our school is so diverse, and maybe less fortunate than some other schools in the area, I think it's neat for (MTV) to help," she said.

[Last modified September 4, 2005, 01:20:22]

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