Elkton High viral video spreads anti-bullying message
— The town that was once known as the marriage capital of the East Coast may be well on its way to developing a new speciality: viral music videos.
In September, the town premiered “Can’t Stop the Feeling: An Elkton Tribute,” which showed downtown residents and businesses dancing to the Justin Timberlake song. And now, a group of Elkton High School students is continuing that trend with an anti-bullying video that was posted to the
school’s Facebook page last week.
Set to Katy Perry’s “Firework,” the video shows EHS students and staff dancing, holding up positive notes and doing good deeds as a way to spread an anti-bullying message.
Since being posted last Wednesday afternoon, the video has been watched more than 30,000 times and garnered more than 700 shares.
“We just wanted to send the message in a fun way that’s approachable,” said Hannah Holderer, a junior who worked on the video.
The video came together quickly over the course of about a month after EHS teacher Marie Freisleben put out the call for students to help create an anti-bullying video timed to anti-bullying month in October.
Though the video came out later than anticipated, the students were still surprised and pleased with the huge response it garnered. Most of the students who helped out are not especially interested in video — they were more focused on the anti-bullying message
such a video could promote.
“I feel like bullying goes on and people don’t even realize it,” said Zachary Kinsey, a freshman who helped with the video.
To create the video, the group of students received help from Mark Yang, a professional videographer who Freisleben knows from college. Yang came down to EHS to shoot some scenes while others were filmed by the students themselves.
In many cases, students simply walked around during the school’s revisit period or after school and asked people to participate. The end result was a wide cross section of people — not just the typical outgoing people one would expect to participate, Freisleben said, something she attributes to the students’ enthusiasm for the project rubbing off on those they encountered.
While some scenes are simply people dancing or holding up signs with positive messages, others are more choreographed scenes, such as one where a group of students joins a student who’s sitting by herself.
For Holderer, one of her favorite parts of the shoot was when a group of students stood outside against a brick wall and just smiled.
“(Yang) said, ‘Just smile, all you have to do is smile,’” she recalled. “And we were genuinely happy in that moment and it showed.”
In the future, the group hopes to repeat their success next year by involving even more students since many people weren’t aware of the project until the video was post- ed. And Freiselben said the school’s guidance department is also considering adding a video component to its annual anti-bullying poster contest, perhaps resulting in more than one viral video next year.
“It really shows how far something small can go,” Freiselben said.
Rita Bowers, right, stands with her twin daughters Myla and Myra and her godson Kashawn Davis Jr. during a ceremony celebrating the family’s new home on Monday night.
Elkton High teacher Marie Freiselben (front right) and students worked together to create an anti-bully video that went viral after being posted on the school’s Facebook page.