Norland Middle School celebrates 'Moonlight' Oscar win

Teacher, 14 students acted in hit film

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Everyone was feeling the buzz Monday around Norland Middle School after the Miami-based movie "Moonlight" won Best Picture at the 89th Academy Awards.

A sign outside the school congratulated the film for winning three Oscars Sunday night.

Several students who acted in the film said they feel like they were part of something much bigger than just a movie.

"People have been talking about 'Moonlight, Moonlight.' Every (place) where I turn, they're talking about 'Moonlight,' and I feel kind of famous," Arianna Harris, who played an extra in the movie, said.

Two Norland Middle School students, Jaden Piner and Alex Hibbert, got starring roles in the film, and 12 of their classmates appeared in the movie as extras.

"I love that we got to see the director, Barry Jenkins. It was amazing and we had a fun time while doing it," Joseph Thomas said.

Students and staff at the school in Miami Gardens said they are still on cloud nine and feel like they've been a part of something special.

"They actually live this experience on a daily basis, so it's not foreign to them, and I think they directly connect to it, and it's such a big thing because their story is being told," magnet lead teacher Damon Richardson said.

"Anyone could be whoever they want to be in the world -- they can have their own sexuality, they could be like high up there or low down there, they could still be whoever they want," Emerald Greene, who plays an extra in the movie, said.

Jaden and Alex are expected to be back in Miami by Tuesday because they both have tests coming up.

Students and teachers at Norland Middle School told Local 10 News that the experience has energized the entire school and they're looking forward to even more success in the future.

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