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St. Catharine’s scores at this year’s Eddy Awards

St. Catharine Academy might soon deliver 10 terrific newscasters to the Bronx. Just give them a few years to finish high school and get through college.

The student news team from St. Catharine’s won six different Eddy Awards, which are given out by Instructional Television (of the New York Archdiocese. The program is called “News and Views” and has awarded student news teams that enter short films to the program for 37 years. For their short documentary news program, the St. Catharine girls investigated child drug trafficking all over the world. Among other adventures during their research, they spoke to numerous experts, interviewed those touched by the terrible practice, and watched the movie “Maria Full of Grace,” which tells the story of one woman forced to swallow and transport balloons full of cocaine before boarding a plane to America. The movie is widely known to be a very accurate depiction. The St. Catharine program was titled, “Innocence Lost: The Business of Child Trafficking.”

Not only did the St. Catharine team, which included 10 students, win the award for best overall news team, it also earned invidual awards for: Ariel Tomlinson, for photo essay; Amanda Villavicencio, for feature; Victoria DiMichele, for interview; and Roseanne Riolo, the team’s instructor, for moderator. In addition to best overall news team, the group also won best research.

This was the second year St. Catharine entered the program, and last year they scored big as well, winning four awards for their program, which focused on women in the Congo. But now, with six, they’ve topped themselves. “Their topic [this year] was Pretty heavy-hitting, especially for a high school,” said Roland Chapdelaine of ITV. “The fact that so many real news reporters got their start doing this gives the students a lot of hope that their dreams can come true. And even if they don’t want to do this professionally, all the kids will have to do job interviews, and doing the News and Views is a great way for them to gain confidence speaking.” Indeed, local professional newscasters Nick Gregory, Marcus Solis, and others all got their start in the ITV program when they went to Catholic schools in the borough. Chapedelaine said that six awards for one school is not unheard of, but is unusual. “Theirs was a very good show,” he said.

Each of the programs filmed for News and Views are about 15 minutes in length, zero in on a specific, timely topic, and include anchorpeople, features, debates, and interviews. Many of the professional newscasters who help host the Eddy Awards, said Chapdelaine, are taken aback by how advanced the programs produced by students are.

“They say ‘Wow, if only I had this kind of training when I was a kid,’” he said.

Roseanne Riolo was thrilled, to say the least. “I couldn’t believe how we cleaned up,” she said. “You don’t realize how something is going while it’s happening, you’re always your own work’s critic.” Riolo said that one of the reasons the team addressed child trafficking was because they believe in charity, responsibility, and global awareness. They also closely followed the news story of Shaniya Davis, the North Carolina five-year-old that died after being exploited for sex by her own mother.

Reach Daniel Roberts at droberts@cnglocal.com

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