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Bethpage High teen wins Hot Chelle Rae, Karmin concert
Stephanie Katartzis stood in the hallway where she normally attends math class and received a personal autograph from Amy Heidemann of Karmin, one of her favorite bands.
“This is too good to be true, I’m just ecstatic,” said Katartzis, 14, as she held the autograph tight.
On Monday, hundreds of Bethpage High School students attended a free concert featuring 2011 American Music Awards favorite new artist, Hot Chelle Rae, as well as Karmin, in the school’s auditorium. The concert was hosted by The Candie’s Foundation, a nonprofit organization that aims to prevent teen pregnancy.
“The whole school hasn’t been able to stop smiling this entire day,” Katartzis said.
In February, Katartzis, a freshman at Bethpage High School, entered a contest by The Candie’s Foundation on Z100’s website. She watched a video on the site about preventing teen pregnancy. At the end of the video students received a code allowing them to enter to win a concert at their high school. In April, she received news that Hot Chelle Rae and Karmin were coming to her school.
“This is our core group and these teens need to be educated in a fun way,” said Maria Dolgetta, spokeswoman for The Candie’s Foundation. “We wanted to do an event that wouldn’t lecture them about teen pregnancy.”
Each day, 2,000 teenage girls become pregnant, Dolgetta said.
“It’s not just about a rock show or ticket sales or things like that. These kids are reading these facts and they know that this is coming up, so . . . that’s creating more awareness,” said Ryan Follese, lead vocalist of Hot Chelle Rae. “They know what it’s [the concert] about, they know why we’re here. Plus, it’s fun to play a show for high school kids.”
This was the first time The Candie’s Foundation put on concert at a high school. Heidemann and Nick Noonan of Karmin said they were excited to get back to their small-town roots and play a local show.
“It’s a lot of fun. We love doing this stuff. We’re both from really small towns in really rural parts of the country,” said Noonan. “When we get the chance to come back and do kind of random things like this it’s actually really relaxing in a weird way.”
Students sang along to every word of Karmin and Hot Chelle Rae’s music as they held up their iPhones to take photos. In between acts, Erica America of Z100 discussed facts about teen pregnancy with the audience to remind students of the true reason for the event.
“We are trying to get across our message about teen pregnancy prevention in a way that kids will listen,” said Evan Dahlquist, foundation manager of The Candie’s Foundation. “This concert is much better than those educational pamphlets you pick up in the nurse’s office.”
Above: Hot Chelle Rae and Karmin pose with Stephanie Katartzis, 14, center, whose contest entry won Bethpage High School a concert hosted by The Candie's Foundation, an organization that works to combat teen pregnancy. (May 21, 2012)