‘I didn’t know our school video was for Ed Sheeran’

One of the teenage stars of a new Ed Sheeran music video says it’s hard to believe what’s happening.

Leona McGinty, 14, has a starring role in the video chosen by the global superstar for his track ‘Magical’ from his new album, Autumn Variations.

“I didn’t think it was real when they told me, I thought they were lying,” Leona said.

The video was made by pupils and staff from Finn Valley College in Stranorlar, County Donegal.

It’s one of 14 fan-created video chosen to accompany the songs on Sheeran’s new album .

Described as “a school love story with a Romeo and Juliet twist,” its stars were blissfully unaware it was being considered for the pop icon’s new album.

Leona McGinty
Image caption,Leona McGinty says she never thought in her wildest dreams she would be in an Ed Sheeran music video

The video was chosen after singer-songwriter Sheeran launched a competition asking schools to create a video for a song of their choice from his new album.

The Donegal school saw off the competition from 4,000 entries in more than 75 countries.

Everyone involved in the video worked incredibly hard and was very proud, Leona said.

And they were sent a personal video of thanks from Sheeran.

“I was blushing red when I saw it, I couldn’t believe it,” she said.

She’s been a “big fan” of the superstar she said, “since she was a wee girl”.

Sheeran officially released the school’s video on Tuesday.

Other winning entries for songs come from the UK, Australia, Italy, the Netherlands, the United States, Brazil, Germany, Japan, France, New Zealand, Taiwan, Mexico and India.

Secret project

The pupils owe their thanks to a member of staff at the school who spotted the competition by accident.

Edel Temple , a special needs assistant at Finn Valley College, told BBC’s North West Today radio programme that she chance upon it on social media.

“Ed had something up on his Instagram about fans making the videos for his new album, Autumn Variations, and straight away this idea came into my head of us making it in the school.

“I thought I’ll give it a go, just basically as a way to tell of just how amazing the school, the pupils and the area is.”

‘We wanted natural performances’

A few weeks later, Sheeran’s label Warner Music got in touch and invited Ms Temple to a Zoom call where she explained why the school wanted to shoot the video.

She said the school decided not to tell the students why they were making the video.

Teacher Martina Garry said this was partly to get “natural performances” from the pupils.

Only the parents and guardians of the pupils, and of course the teachers, knew what the performance was actually for.

“You can really tell that in the performance, they are really natural, the pupils are being themselves, they were really having fun with it,” she said.

“We felt that had we told them just how massive a project was then the nerves might have come in.”

Tina Garry
Image caption,Tina Garry says winning the competition is a huge boost for the students

Ms Garry said informing the pupils that they had won the competition as they were sitting on a school bus was one of the best feelings in the world.

“They can aim for the stars, be whatever they want to be, and if you really have that sense of self-belief they can achieve great things,” she said.

“It’s wonderful for us, really uplifting http://kueceng.com/ for our school community and just a really positive thing to be doing.”

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