Local Student Stars On "The Scholar" - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/13/05-Commerce

Local Student Stars On "The Scholar"

"They tried to get me to act as normal as possible, but how can you act normal with cameras and mikes and lights and all this stuff?" Gerald Taylor, II, a contestant on ABC's new reality TV show The Scholar, said.

So we sat down with Gerald T., as he's called on the show, to find out what he's really like and what goes on behind the scenes.

"You guys are among the brightest students in America," Host Rob Nelson told the contestants on last Monday night's premiere.

Ten high school seniors vying for a full scholarship to the college of his or her choice and other prizes. They all had to endure an extensive application process to audition for the show.

What kind of scholar is Gerald? He was named most well-rounded senior at Commerce High School. He's a published playwright, a star actor in school plays, and a tenor saxophonist in the band.

"Brains is just one part of this competition," Nelson reminded the contestants.

"You can let yourself get stressed out," Gerald said. "Some did, which I think you will end up seeing. But I tried to take it as easy as possible."

But it's not easy when there are potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars at stake; when you have to be smart, creative, and a good leader; and when you have to live in the same house with the nine people you're competing against, all with different personalities.

"It's a show for everyone," Gerald said on the show. "If you want a good, heart-warming, nice story, you've got that aspect of it. But if you want to see teenage drama, there's a ton of that, too."

In case you're wondering, actor Steve Martin is the show's executive producer.

Many elements of the show are, of course, top secret. But we did get Gerald to let us in on one thing.

"Well, the next episode, we get challenged over school spirit," he said. "So everybody from Commerce knows that that is my area of expertise."

Gerald was his high school mascot. And now, his former classmates are cheering him on.

"They're excited," Gerald said. "They're like, 'Oh my god, Gerald, I saw your commercial. It's so amazing!' Everybody's just so giddy."

The 18-year-old is already getting recognized around town. And although he says he's normally brutally honest, he made an exception back in January, when people asked him why cameras had followed him home.

"I told them I was going to be on American Idol. And they were going to do a bit piece on me," Gerald said.

Well, the secret's out now. And whether he wins or not, Gerald will go to college and continue being a scholar.

Gerald plans to major in theater and psychology. He wants to blend the two areas in his career, so he can perform on stage and help crime victims express their emotional issues through writing and drama.

The Scholar airs at 7 Monday nights on KLTV.

Julie Tam, reporting. jtam@kltv.com

 

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