Binghamton High Student Stars In Movie

By Kiersten Mathieu

July 22, 2010 Updated Dec 21, 2006 at 12:18 AM EDT

High School Senior Shareeka Epps barely stands five feet tall.

But she stood next to professional actors, like Ryan Gosling, in the independent film Half Nelson.

"I was a little intimidated. I will admit," says Epps.

Half Nelson takes place in an inner city school.

Epps' character befriends her teacher, played by Gosling, after she discovers his drug habit.

Epps won a few independent awards for her role.

The film has also won awards, landed rave reviews, and is creating an Oscar buzz.

"Working on the film was one of the best times of my life. I had so much fun. That is when I found out that I really want to act. This is my passion," says Epps.

Epps' passion started through drama classes offered in Binghamton's Rod Serling School of Fine Arts.

The school is one of the few in the state to offer a fine art curriculum of dance and theatre.

"It helps to build a certain confidence in yourself," says Epps.

Epps isn't the only student who used the auditorium to help get her start.

Other students from the fine arts school used it as a springboard to stardom.

1990 Binghamton graduate, Angel Desai, just made her Broadway debut in the musical, Company.

"The students go on to bigger and better things and we're just so proud of them," says Larry Kassan of Binghamton High School.

In 10 years, Epps says she wants to be successful, happy and to have starred in a movie with Denzel Washington.

Epps also just wrapped up filming the movie "Alien Versus Predator 2".

Her film "Half Nelson" appeared in independent film theaters nationwide.

It's scheduled to come out on DVD next month.

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