Students in the Wallenpapuack School District have added a clever link to the district's chain of kindness. As an extension of Rachel's Challenge, the anti-bullying program based on theories of kindness from Rachel Joy Scott, the first victim of the 1999 Columbine School shooting in Colorado; students, faculty and staff recently participated in the district's first ever "lip dub."
Friday morning, students at the North Primary School were in the gymnasium dancing and singing to, "Brave" by Sara Bareills and "Roar" by Katy Perry. In the afternoon, the high school students took their part a step further, singing and dancing throughout the halls of the high school. Monday, the other schools completed their parts in the video project with the South Elementary students joining together to make a rainbow with teachers acting as the sun. The video will eventually be posted on YouTube.
Rachel's Club adviser and an English teacher in the district, Kelly Obermiller said the idea for the lip dub came about when the student council was looking for ways to extend Rachel's Challenge in the school.
After getting approval from district administrators, who Obermiller said were, "really awesome," the enthusiasm from everyone has been great. Teachers throughout the district, she said, have been instrumental in keeping the students excited.
English teacher Jessica Sutton and theater teacher Allison Hoffman developed the performance's story. Hoffman said the story is meant to, "convey" Scott's challenge with each school incorporating one of her goals as their main theme. The choreography, she explained was meant to be easy enough that it could "transcend" from kindergarten students up to seniors. The simplicity of the performance, she added was so everyone could have fun and it would, "unify us as an entire district."
The entire project, Hoffman said was, "great and so much fun," because the school spirit has been apparent throughout the schools. As graduates of the district, both Hoffman and Sutton were touched by the project.
With everyone joining together to complete the project and having fun too, Sutten said that is one of the reasons she wanted to be a teacher. Coming together now, she said is important because of the issues of bullying that divide students. The students working together, she said, "was really awesome."
High school English teacher, Cindy Fehringer has worked with the kids on the show's choreography. Together, Obermiller said it was, "kind of like a team thing." At the high school, over 100 students tried out to participate to sing in the performance, but district wide, everyone was involved.
The entire experience of composing the lip dub, Obermiller said has been great because people aren't forgetting about the point of Rachel's Challenge and spreading kindness. Part of what has made the lip dub so special, she said is that the entire district is involved and the, "unity," is what will make the concepts of Rachel's Challenge a success because they will reach out to the community too. The unity and kindness, Obermiller added, needs to be taught to kids. To continue the programs growth, students have made kindness chains, where positive notes are written on slips of paper that make a paper chain, which Obermiller said will hopefully go through the halls of the entire school at some point.
Page 2 of 2 - Before the students at the North Primary School started Friday morning, Principal Anthony Cavallaro told the students that he has noticed a lot of acts of kindness happening in the school with kids helping others and a lot of sharing. The lip dub, he said, was just one way for peoples' positive spirits to continue on.
The final video, Obermiller said will hopefully be done around Thanksgiving.