Former COD Student Earns Second Crystal Pillar Nomination for film on the Ross K. MacNeill Foundation

By: Brian Kleemann

Sarah Taschetta

For the second consecutive year, former College of DuPage student Sarah Taschetta has focused her storytelling lens on a local subject and received a nomination for the Crystal Pillar Student Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. 

Her short documentary film, “Ross K. MacNeill and the Orange Jeep,” shares the story of MacNeill, a Wheaton boy who lost his fight against brain cancer. Since then, the Ross K. MacNeill Foundationhas raised more than $1 million to support pediatric brain cancer research. 

Taschetta attended Wheaton North High School with Ross’ sister, Rachel, and would think about Ross’ story whenever she saw the orange Jeep driven by MacNeill’s mom, Kim. Taschetta finally reached out to his mom and asked about producing a video. 

“I wanted to know the story behind the Jeep,” she said. “The Foundation has videos of Ross’ actual story that go into more depth, so I wanted something simpler and heartwarming that focused just on the Jeep.” 

Taschetta, a senior at Columbia College Chicago, turned the video into a student project for one of her classes and received her second nomination from NATAS, the producers of the Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards. This follow’s last year’s nomination for “Sam Anderson: In My Own Words,”a video which shared the story of her friend and former Wheaton North classmate with Down syndrome. 

Currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Television Production, Taschetta would like to work in Chicago radio or television as a producer and creator of content for various electronic and social media platforms. She gained experience earlier this year when she interned for the Ross K. MacNeill Foundation and promoted a raffle for an orange Jeep, which raised more than $360,000 for research. 

Regardless of whether she wins the Crystal Pillar Award on Nov. 16, Taschetta is happy that she can share Ross’ story in a unique way. 

 “He loved orange, and I want people to feel positive about his story,” she said. 

Find out more about the Motion Picture/Television program at College of DuPage.


Pictured: Sarah Taschetta (center) with Rachel MacNeill (left) and Kim MacNeill