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Gaming giant PlayStation to honor local contest winner at Northport High School

Noelle Stegner, 14, of Northport, is shown at

Noelle Stegner, 14, of Northport, is shown at her family home on July 16, 2015. Credit: Chris Ware

Northport High School it is.

Sony PlayStation is coming to the school Aug. 1 to celebrate student Noelle Stegner as one of four winners of the gaming giant's national "My Road to Greatness" contest.

Organizers had hoped to host the event in Cow Harbor Park but turned to school officials when the village could not accommodate them so soon.

For the free event, a semi-truck that converts into a gaming center -- with 22 stations featuring unreleased games the public can play -- is to park at the school from noon to 6 p.m. Live music will be on a separate stage, starting with the first public performance by the 14-year-old's band, Tomorrow's Apologies.

Stegner said she's not nervous about the gig -- the band has been practicing regularly.

"I'm too happy about it: There's no point in having the nerves," she said.The soon-to-be Northport High sophomore was one of 500 people who created and submitted videos in the contest. Officials said hers was chosen for its high production value and her love of multiple generations of PlayStation games and consoles.

With the event little more than a week away, the high school's assistant principal, Dan McKeon, worked with officials to approve having it in the campus parking lot.

"We wanted to stand with Noelle and her family to promote this positive experience in her life," McKeon said.

PlayStation officials plan to start promoting the event on the radio, in fliers at local businesses and on Facebook. Area PlayStation users will be invited via email.

Stegner was inspired to enter the contest after a particularly dark period. The teenager had struggled with bullying and depression for several years, and gaming was an escape from the name-calling. She's happy to bring the event to her school, despite those difficulties.

"I feel like it makes me look like the bigger person," Stegner said. "And I think it's important for a lot of people that are facing the same situation as me to see that . . . that things are going to get better eventually."

In 24 hours, she shot and edited a video of her friends and family acting out her favorite games.

"It was really a family production," said Josh Mooney, an Atlanta-based account manager for Octagon, a Norwalk, Connecticut-based marketing company that is planning the event for Sony. "We could tell the amount of time she put into it."

Her mom, Joann Stegner, said the production is a fusion of her daughter's passions: filmmaking, gaming and music.

"As a parent, it makes me feel very proud of her, the strong spirit that she really does have within her," she said. "I think she forgets sometimes she has it. It's really good to see that come alive in her again."

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