With a flip of her purple hair and an enthusiastic shriek, Noelle Stegner sauntered across the stage as her band played the opening chords of Joan Jett and the Blackhearts' "I Love Rock 'N Roll."
Hundreds of fans cheered in the Northport High School parking lot.
Stegner, 14, said it was the best public debut imaginable for her group, Tomorrow's Apologies. It was made possible by Sony PlayStation, which brought the stage and a tractor trailer full of unreleased video games to the school Saturday.
"It's really sweet; we got such a good turnout," she said after the performance. "The crowd was very nice."
Stegner won the gaming giant's "My Road to Greatness" video contest in June, and the prize was the gaming experience, set up in Northport for one day in her honor.
From noon to 6 p.m., attendees enjoyed live music, game previews, giveaways and food from Tim's Shipwreck Diner. At one point, the line to get into the trailer included more than 300 people.
"This is my school, and I wanted to come support it," said Adam Silverstein, a 16-year-old Northport resident waiting in line. "And Noelle is an awesome, amazing person. I'm excited to play all the games."
The event was a victory for Stegner, who has struggled with depression and bullying.
A booth for the Farmingdale-based Long Island Coalition Against Bullying served as a reminder of the event's genesis. A dark period had motivated her to produce the winning video, which included her friends and family re-enacting her favorite games.
Winning "shows that I'm capable of more than what people think," Stegner said.
She was grateful to school officials who agreed to host the celebration after the village could not accommodate the function at Cow Harbor Park.
"The planning the district did in collaboration with PlayStation really played out nicely to provide a positive experience for Noelle and her family," said Assistant Principal Dan McKeon.
In execution, it was as positive as possible for Stegner, who bounced through the crowds to dance and play the new games. "They definitely delivered," she said, grinning.